Manipulation and Lies: Consciences Guilted for the Unconscionable

cropped-a027c-asp2bbanner1The presidential race is becoming even more fierce. The lines are no longer drawing along lines of red and blue. It is a veritable melee of various factions and positions all competing and condemning each other. For pro-life voters, the issues of abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, aid to the poor, and others have taken a back seat to the building of walls and irrelevant policies that only 90’s kids would know.

The arguments to get pro-life voters on the side of the man planning on some of the most ridiculous and absurd policies in American history–even more absurd than John Quincy Adams approving a journey to the center of the earth to trade with mole people–are becoming wide and varied, anything from the classic “but the Supreme Court” argument to tenuous claims that Clinton is the actual anti-Christ.

Perhaps the most striking act of desperation and selling out came from Life Site News, the “anti-abortion but forget helping the poor because reasons” nominally news source. It is now emphatically a GOP propaganda mouthpiece. Take this headline for example: “Don’t buy Satan’s lies: Only one political party aligns with the Church on the most basic issues.” The article is by eminent theologian and priest, Monsignor Charles Pope. If you read the article and then were confused as to how the headline relates, then you are not alone. In perhaps the most flagrant display of their political biases and ends, Life Site has finally come out of the closet we all knew they were in the whole time.

You may say I am being too harsh. That would be true if the headline where the article originally appeared, the National Catholic Register, didn’t read something like this: “Vote as a Catholic with a Catholic Moral Vision.” Seems more faithful to the actual message of the article, right? That is because the Register hasn’t implicitly endorsed a candidate, let alone a political party.

What makes Life Site all the more blatantly partisan and pandering to the consciences of good people is that Msgr. Pope says this in his article:

On the eve of an election and as a priest I frequently am baited to comment more directly on politics by naming names, and parties. I will not do so. The temporal order belongs to the laity, not the clergy. But as a priest I must convey the moral teachings and insist that Catholics connect the dots when it comes to voting. And my advice is simple: Vote as a Catholic, not as a Republican, Democrat, conservative, or liberal. Vote as a Catholic with a Catholic moral vision.

So here is the good monsignor explicitly not endorsing any party or candidate. He endorsed a Catholic vision above all, one that included the non-negotiables i.e. those things that Catholics need to uphold above all in political action. If any one has any doubt that Trump supports abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and same-sex “marriage,” the wealth of information the Internet contains can highlight the plain and simple fact: Trump either supports or is purposefully ambiguous and confusing on each and every one of these important moral issue.

Life Site is right. We should not buy into Satan’s lie that any political party is pro-life except the American Solidarity Party. Every single issue that Msgr. Pope says Catholics should support, the ASP supports them. The ASP is the clear choice for Catholics and truly anyone who is consistently pro-life. The theological misinformation and gymnastics are not reserved to Catholics. Christian thinkers such as Wayne Grudem and James Dobson seem to think Trump is the only moral choice. In the end, they all boil down to the same argument Life Site makes, though not directly: keep the GOP in power.

Here we have religious leaders and media outlets shamelessly trying to influence the American voter. It all boils down to “vote against that person by voting for this one.” There is no real promise of change; we are not that naive. There is not real policy proposal; they are not that organized. It is a battle cry of the perpetual loser: give ground now so we can gain some later. That is not solidarity. That is selling out. That is selling the lives of unborn children so you can get four years in the White House and no substantial change to show for it because the man you elected would end up a Democrat if he took an isidewith.org quiz.

There is only one political party that aligns with the Church and really basic common sense on the issues. It is the American Solidarity Party and we will not compromise our principles to the scaremongering political hacks. Only by standing up to the two party system, by making our voice heard with our vote can we make things change. The only people selling out are the actual sell outs in both parties. We need to take our government back into our own hands and away from the powerful elites in the major parties. It will not be easy and we will suffer many defeats. If it is a lost cause, then it is a lost cause worth losing for and we can say we died with out boots on rather than whipped into kowtowing before our political masters.

If it worked in Poland, it can work here too.

Full Text of ASPVA Chairman’s Reply to Professor Camosy in Crux

In his recent article, Professor Charles Camosy wrote about the need for a political party with a consistent ethic for life. Being the chairman of the American Solidarity Party of Virginia and thereby affiliated with the only political party in the U.S.A with a consistent life ethic explicitly in their platform, I was elated. That is, until I read his piece.

Professor Camosy is an eminent theologian and writer. I could not hope to write a reply that could match his expertise. I shall, however, offer a defense for the people he has wronged by his rash judgment. Professor Camosy states that his main objection to the ASP is “the mealy-mouthed language which supposedly addresses abortion….” This is a rather serious if somewhat crass accusation and I shall present the offending passage. “We support constitutional and legal measures that establish the Right to Life from conception until natural death.”

The ASP supports a constitutional life amendment. This would define, once and for all, that life begins at conception and ends in a natural death. Our very first plank is taking the issue of abortion off the table entirely by making a radical affirmation rather than a condemnation. We affirm that all have a right to life from conception to natural death. Thus, we do not merely oppose abortion, but we support life. It says more than mere opposition ever could. It is a bold and firm stand for life, not merely against abortion.

The affirmation of the inalienable right to life is the cause of all opposition to the various threats to life and so we go straight for the gold: enshrining the right to life in the Constitution along with such rights as freedom of speech, bearing arms, and voting. In short, we cannot be “mealy mouthed” when we are taking a much more restrictive and bolder stand.

An important fact about the ASP is that every member is unequivocally against abortion. There is no debate over its immorality and the need to remove such a great poverty from our nation. We differ from every single other political party by requiring that all new members affirm the sanctity of human life prior to joining. Even if our platform seemed to Professor Camosy to lack strong language on abortion, the truth of the matter is that the party itself i.e. its members are so staunchly pro-life and opposed to abortion that Professor Camosy’s objection seems trivial in comparison to the general will of the party.

As for myself, I joined the ASP and dedicated so much time to its growth precisely because of the affirmation of the right to life. After seeing both political parties—one faster than the other—shedding total opposition to abortion, I looked for a place to call my political home. With the very first plank in our Right to Life platform being the advocacy of a life amendment, I decided I had found my home.

I am not alone in this either. Many of our members became disillusioned with other parties due to their lack of support for life. Other came to the ASP because pro-life became synonymous with anti-abortion and wanted to take an even stronger stand. Being political refugees, most of us are not politically savvy and our platform reflects that. Efforts are being made to clarify the platform which would include a more explicit condemnation of abortion. The difficulty lies in the fact that we are in the middle of a political campaign and we are not a one man band or small cabal of people pretending to be a political party. We are an actual party with a platform created during our national convention. We cannot now change the platform without invalidating the will of the party and behaving like some other major parties we could mention. Instead, we are working on publishing clarifications and expansions on our platform to dispel confusions.

Yet, though it could be attributed to mere ignorance, it cannot be denied that Professor Camosy made a rash judgment. How Professor Camosy could come to this conclusion while other eminent writers can specifically praise us for our pro-life stance. Such a judgment does a disservice to party members like me who see the plank as the stand for the sanctity of life that we have been waiting for, the bold call to be a witness to the Truth without compromise.

Professor Camosy is perfectly free to disagree with other parts of our platform and we welcome such disagreement. He cannot, however, oppose our plank on the right to life without it seeming trivial and quibbling. It is my hope that this clarifies the true position of the ASP and leads to a greater dialogue between pro-life voters so we can finally end the Culture of Death.

VA Chairman Answers the Critics on Crux!

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ASPVA Chairman Stephen S. Ferry answers the criticism of Professor Charles Camosy in a recent article at CruxNow.com! In the article, Mr. Ferry outlines the the ASP’s strong commitment to the rights of the unborn. In Virginia, the ASP pledges to stop public funding to clinics that perform abortion; to protect the consciences of doctors who refuse to perform infanticide; and ultimately, once and for all, enshrine in the Virginia Constitution an amendment declaring what is self-evident: that human life begins at conception and ends in natural death and that threats to such a declaration should be abolished at every turn. In Solidarity and with subsidiarity, we can put a stop to the Culture of Death, end abortion, and usher in a new day for life rights in the Commonwealth!

“The ASP supports a constitutional life amendment. This would define, once and for all, that life begins at conception and ends in a natural death. Our very first plank is taking the issue of abortion off the table entirely by making a radical affirmation rather than a condemnation.

We affirm that all have a right to life from conception to natural death. Thus, we do not merely oppose abortion, but we support life. It says more than mere opposition ever could. It is a bold and firm stand for life, not merely against abortion.

The affirmation of the inalienable right to life is the cause of all opposition to the various threats to life and so we go straight for the gold: enshrining the right to life in the Constitution along with such rights as freedom of speech, bearing arms, and voting. In short, we cannot be “mealy mouthed” when we are taking a much more restrictive and bolder stand.

An important fact about the ASP is that every member is unequivocally against abortion. There is no debate over its immorality and the need to remove such a great poverty from our nation. We differ from every single other political party by requiring that all new members affirm the sanctity of human life prior to joining.

Even if our platform seemed to Professor Camosy to lack strong language on abortion, the truth of the matter is that the party itself, i.e. its members, are so staunchly pro-life and opposed to abortion that Camosy’s objection seems trivial in comparison to the general will of the party.”

Listen to Our Candidate Mike Maturen Talk with Mark Shea!

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We are grateful to Mark Shea for hosting ASP presidential candidate Mike Maturen on his show “Connecting the Dots!” You can listen below and hear the powerful testimony of Mr. Maturen that truly represents the frustration turned hope of the American Solidarity Party: we are done compromising our principles for politics and we are going to make our politics based in our principles.

We hold no illusions of grandeur. We don’t hope to win the presidency this November. What we do aspire to do is establish a viable third party on local and state levels at least. Confirmed as we are by religious and rational principles that any person of good will can recognize, we offer a home to the mass of political refugees created during this election. Come to a party that represents your principles, not someone else’s politics. Below is a contact form so you can join and get involved today.

http://breadboxmedia.podbean.com/mobile/e/connecting-the-dots-with-mark-shea-sherry-antonetti-and-mike-maturen/

Constitutionalism, Solidarity, and Immigrant Heritage: Three Reasons to Celebrate Today!

This post first appeared on the American Solidarity blog.

Today is a triple holiday!

On this day in 1787 the delegates to the Constitutional convention signed the document that has provided the foundation to our political order. As much as we grumbled about contemporary politics, I think the US Constitution deserves recognition as one of the most stable systems of government the world has seen and the framework within which America has prospered in freedom and material plenty. (I would add, in passing, that Constitution Day is a sadly under-celebrated holiday in the US, though the University of Dallas always celebrates in style, with rousing singing of patriotic songs in all of their verses. Definitely worth attending.)

But a constitution, even a good one, is largely an empty vessel. It is the grammar, if you will, of politics, not the contents. Those contents are provided the people, parties, and policies that operate under that system of government. On 17 September 1980, the Solidarity labor union was established in Poland, under a constitutional arrangement far different than our own. But in spite of the Communist system within which it was forced to operate, Solidarity acted as a powerful force for good, reminding us to always pursue what is best, in spite of the odds or circumstances.

Finally, 17 September is also the birthday of Friedrich von Steuben, one of the foreign volunteers who aided the young republic. It is observed in a few localities as Von Steuben Day (complete with parades in New York, Chicago, and Philly). For all its exceptionalism – and America is indeed an exceptional place – our country owes a great debt to the hard work and diverse contributions of many waves of immigrants. Von Steuben Day is a reminder that our arms should continue to be open to those seeking to come to our country.

Aquinas on the best form of government

 

In the Summa Theologica first part of the second part, question 105 (ST, I-II, 105.1) Thomas Aquinas discusses what he considers to be the best form of government. “For this is the best form of polity, being partly kingdom, since there is one at the head of all; partly aristocracy, in so far as a number of persons are set in authority; partly democracy, i.e. government by the people, in so far as the rulers can be chosen from the people, and the people have the right to choose their rulers.

Such was the form of government established by the Divine Law. For Moses and his successors governed the people in such a way that each of them was ruler over all; so that there was a kind of kingdom. Moreover, seventy-two men were chosen, who were elders in virtue: for it is written (Deuteronomy 1:15): “I took out of your tribes wise and honorable, and appointed them rulers”: so that there was an element of aristocracy. But it was a democratical government in so far as the rulers were chosen from all the people; for it is written (Exodus 18:21): “Provide out of all the people wise [Vulgate: ‘able’] men,” etc.; and, again, in so far as they were chosen by the people; wherefore it is written (Deuteronomy 1:13): “Let me have from among you wise [Vulgate: ‘able’] men,” etc. Consequently it is evident that the ordering of the rulers was well provided for by the Law.”

Saint Thomas recommend that we take the best from monarchy, one empowered but not tyrannical executive, from aristocracy we take the idea that a group of especially able or virtuous persons are set authority that balances and checks the authority of the executive and finally we take from democracy that the people choose the executive and the aristocracy. While the USA does not mirror Thomas’ recommendations perfectly the structure is there. We obviously have a president (executive), a congress (aristocracy) and some sort of democracy (elections). We also all know how distorted all these structures have become in modern America. The power of the executive in some domains (e.g., surveillance of private citizens or prosecution of undeclared wars) has become too huge and unchecked. The aristocracy does not really function most of the time as a group of excellent, virtuous and “able” citizens. And finally our elections, as well know, sometimes do not allow us to really choose our leaders.

The current presidential election is a case in point. Nobody believes we are being given a real choice when presented with Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. Now more than ever in the USA we need not only a third party but a party informed by Catholic principles –that party is the Solidarity party.

 

Cardinal Dolan denounces “Catholics for Choice” and recent “deceptive ads” — Aleteia.org – Worldwide Catholic Network Sharing Faith Resources for those seeking Truth – Aleteia.org

A Statement from Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities An abortion advocacy organization called “Catholics for Choice” (CFC) placed deceptive full-page newspaper ads in multiple cities on September 12 calling for taxpayer funding of abortion in the name of the Catholic faith. As the U.S.…

via Cardinal Dolan denounces “Catholics for Choice” and recent “deceptive ads” — Aleteia.org – Worldwide Catholic Network Sharing Faith Resources for those seeking Truth – Aleteia.org

The American Solidarity Party opposes abortion as an objective moral evil. Abortion is never the right choice because it is a false choice. It is based upon the lie that children are a shackle that weighs down mothers and imprisons them with a burden they do not want and are not ready for. This lie helps to further the Culture of Death in our society. Instead of aiding the poor to rise out of poverty, they are offered a greater poverty: abortion. Instead of offering women equal pay and fair maternity leave, they are given the choice between financial solvency and sacrificing their children.

The American Solidarity Party seeks integral social development that eliminate the perceived necessity for abortion and exposing the lies spread by its proponents. The American Solidarity Party is not just pro-birth, but consistently pro-life for the whole life. This includes greater and better care for the poor and the vulnerable in our society and ensuring the demands of justice are fulfilled regardless of race, religion, sex, or number of children.

Seeking Solidarity: Against the Liberal Critics

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In his Encyclical Graves De Communi Re, Pope Leo XIII treats with the growing movements of Christian Democracy of his time. Indeed, it is from these movements that the ASP claims decent. The scions of liberalism, ever watchful for the resurrection of the philosophical patrimony of the West that they intended to bury like Chronus in Tartarus, would paint us as their brothers in red or blue liberalism respectively.Yet, founded on the principles of Christianity rather than the failed axioms of liberals 300 years ago, we reject the monikers of socialist, right-winger, woman hater, race baiter, and the like and can do so since we reject the Liberalism from which both stem.

The stumbling block for these critics is the same that was a stumbling block for the Judaizers: misunderstanding of the Law, in this case the Natural Law. For Liberalism, man is absolutely autonomous. In man alone are the determinations of previously objective principles. Happiness, virtue, religion, reason, all these things are subject to the mind of the man contemplating them and bend themselves to his definitions. The very law of Nature, therefore, is in the hand of man to define, legislate, and enforce. Man becomes the tyrant of the order that he is subject to, placing the burdens of their imagined dogmas upon all mankind.

They deem themselves beneficent tyrants, however, declaring that every man is “free” to pursue any end he chose provided it does not violate the axioms they established to set limits to otherwise limitless license. Indeed, the most important restriction they place on mankind is precisely the one that would reveal their foolishness: questioning their dogma. They believe these things to be settled, obvious, and universal, so shut up and like them. They complain that this is the only way man can be free and the only way to protect man from his fellow man and the beast they call government.

Pope Leo XIII gives an alternative. In the face of the moral excesses of the two liberal factions–the socialists and the capitalists–tearing mankind down all across the world with their poisons of envy and greed respectively, he extols the emergence of Christian Democracy. In Rerum Novarum, Leo called out to Christians to affect social change like responsible citizens. In Graves, he extols those rising to that challenge as Christian Democrats.

Nor, with God’s grace, were Our hopes entirely frustrated. Even those who are not Catholics, moved by the power of truth, avowed that the Church must be credited with a watchful care over all classes of society, and especially those whom fortune had least favored. Catholics, of course, profited abundantly by these letters, for they not only received encouragement and strength for the excellent undertakings in which they were engaged, but also obtained the light which they needed in order to study this order of problems with great sureness and success. Hence it happened that the differences of opinion which prevailed among them were either removed or lessened. In the order of action, much has been done in favor of the proletariat, especially in those places where poverty was at its worst. Many new institutions were set on foot, those which were already established were increased, and all reaped the benefit of a greater stability. Such are, for instance, the popular bureaus which supply information to the uneducated; the rural banks which make loans to small farmers; the societies for mutual help or relief; the unions of working men and other associations or institutions of the same kind. Thus, under the auspices of the Church, a measure of united action among Catholics was secured, as well as some planning in the setting up of agencies for the protection of the masses which, in fact, are as often oppressed by guile and exploitation of their necessities as by their own indigence and toil.

The rise of Christian Democracy affected real social change all over the world at that time and in subsequent decades. Labor laws, charitable institutions, and other tools of private and public use were employed to protect the poor and foster greater social integration. Those who call us Socialists will likely recall the Christian Socialists of the time which Leo calls an oxymoron and that we reject utterly.

What Social Democracy is and what Christian Democracy ought to be, assuredly no one can doubt. The first, with due consideration to the greater or less intemperance of its utterance, is carried to such an excess by many as to maintain that there is really nothing existing above the natural order of things, and that the acquirement and enjoyment of corporal and external goods constitute man’s happiness. It aims at putting all government in the hands of the masses, reducing all ranks to the same level, abolishing all distinction of class, and finally introducing community of goods. Hence, the right to own private property is to be abrogated, and whatever property a man possesses, or whatever means of livelihood he has, is to be common to all.

Leo plainly points to the fundamental issues that set us apart from the Socialists, namely populism, social equality, class equality, and the abolishing of private property. As Christian Democrats, we support the structuring of government such that issues are handled at the lowest level necessary to deal with them. Securing the Atlantic coast is an issue best suited for a national government while the granting of fishing rights in a Virginia river belong either to the Commonwealth or the county, depending on the size of the river. We are unlike the “small government” liberals in that we acknowledge that government must have power to act. We differ from them further by acknowledging that the government is the expression of the people’s will rather than some removed entity foreign to their interests and existing with the sole aim to enslave and oppress. If such a thing were true, then it would be better if no government existed. Yet they would insist it is necessary to protect their rights while they brandish weapons they say protect their rights anyway. But I digress. We do not advocate any more government than there needs to be, but like our founders acknowledge that men are not just on their own and the government must enforce the demands of justice.

As Christian Democrats, we believe that all men are equal in dignity and deserve the respect thereof. This means that all have the right to private property received through their own toil but allowing for assistance for that end. It does not mean that the social and economic classes must be leveled so that all enjoy property that is not their own and not to their liking. It contradicts the natural right of all men to enjoy the fruits of their labor. It is the result of our concupiscence that we must labor; we cannot cheat, either through capital ventures or government censure, a man from the products of his labor. Rather, public and private energies should be focused on the mutual growth of all persons in the community. Self-interest, however understood, is never right and will only affect the greed and envy of the capitalists and the socialists that Leo condemned.

As against this, Christian Democracy, by the fact that it is Christian, is built, and necessarily so, on the basic principles of divine faith, and it must provide better conditions for the masses, with the ulterior object of promoting the perfection of souls made for things eternal. Hence, for Christian Democracy, justice is sacred; it must maintain that the right of acquiring and possessing property cannot be impugned, and it must safeguard the various distinctions and degrees which are indispensable in every well-ordered commonwealth. Finally, it must endeavor to preserve in every human society the form and the character which God ever impresses on it. It is clear, therefore, that there in nothing in common between Social and Christian Democracy. They differ from each other as much as the sect of socialism differs from the profession of Christianity.

It is from this that we draw our inspiration and according to this we are foreign to socialism and even Liberalism. Yet the Liberals will again complain that we seek to redistribute wealth like the brothers the socialists. This derives from their myopic view of political philosophy. To them, there is only Liberalism and anything contrary to their specific liberal view is a different liberal view. Foreign to them are the proscriptions of Leo and the Church throughout the ages. The wisdom of the West that their forefathers so imprudently rejected for follies of their own devising is now unintelligible to them. Thus, they are utterly confounded when we follow this teaching from Leo.

As regards not merely the temporary aid given to the laboring classes, but the establishment of permanent institutions in their behalf, it is most commendable for charity to undertake them. It will thus see that more certain and more reliable means of assistance will be afforded to the necessitous. That kind of help is especially worthy of recognition which forms the minds of mechanics and laborers to thrift and foresight, so that in course of time they may be able, in part at least, to look out for themselves. To aim at that is not only to dignify the duty of the rich toward the poor, but to elevate the poor themselves, for, while it urges them to work in order to improve their condition, it preserves them meantime from danger, it refrains immoderation in their desires, and acts as a spur in the practice of virtue. Since, therefore, this is of such great avail and so much in keeping with the spirit of the times, it is a worthy object for the charity of righteous men to undertake with prudence and zeal.

Since the very elevation of the poor is unconscionable to liberals regardless of their color–they prefer to either consign them to the hand of fate and call it just or tear down the natural rights of man and call it just–Leo’s words would smell of socialism to them or they would attempt to twist them into Gordian knots of excuses, detailing that the government cannot compel a man to be charitable. This last objection is so ridiculous, I scarcely know why it is an objection at all. They say it is because Charity is a religious proscription and therefore out of the purview of government. If the chief and greatest virtue is incapable of being legislation, it logically follows that no other virtue could be legislated. If the virtue from which all virtues come cannot have the force of law, then no virtue can. See how these liberals behave when they force God out of their governance! Justice, prudence, temperance, all virtue now can have no force of law. The law itself becomes the whims of human imagination and there is anarchy. This is what the liberals offer. It is all they can offer. As Leo said, these institutions act as the spur in the practice of virtue. Is it not written that St. Paul kicked against the spur to his detriment? If a rich man suffers under a law intended to spur him to virtue, is it the fault of the spur or the man? Shall we remove our laws on murder because it is hard for the murderer to live under that spur? These are the counsels of liberals. They enforce their atheistic dogmas upon all which can only lead to the total depravity and destruction of mankind. We, on the other hand, seek to build man up, confirmed as we are by Divine precept.

Finally, We recur again to what We have already declared and We insist upon it most solemnly; viz., that whatever projects individuals or associations form in this matter should be formed under episcopal authority. Let them not be led astray by an excessive zeal in the cause of charity. If it leads them to be wanting in proper submission, it is not a sincere zeal; it will not have any useful result and cannot be acceptable to God. God delights in the souls of those who put aside their own designs and obey the rulers of His Church as if they were obeying Him; He assists them even when they attempt difficult things and benignly leads them to their desired end. Let them show, also, examples of virtue, so as to prove that a Christian is a hater of idleness and self indulgence, that he stands firm and unconquered in the midst of adversity. Examples of that kind have a power of moving people to dispositions of soul that make for salvation, and have all the greater force as the condition of those who give them is higher in the social scale.

We do not desire any man stay on the dole, but we rather desire a man use it as the spring board to reach his happiness. We cannot fall into the lies and traps of liberals, be they red or blue, provided we adhere to the advice of Leo and allow ourselves to be formed by Divine precept. By following the logic of the Gospel rather than the whims of popular liberal movements, we commit ourselves to something greater than simply a “revolution” started by popular political figures. It is giving everything to God, including our politics, and submitting ourselves to His wisdom and order rather than our own. Such selflessness is not only impossible for liberals but actually antithetical to their main premise of the autonomy and supremacy of the individual man over nature and even God Himself. We reject such arrogance along with all the works and empty promises of Liberalism.

After all, it worked for Poland.

 

Seeking Solidarity: The Rightful Heir to the “Conservative” Throne

It is becoming more and more clear that the “Party of Reagan” is dying a slow death from stagnation and outright repression from the womb that birthed it: the GOP. The cause of this inevitable death is clear: it failed to authentically progress as conservative principles demand and did not see the great sign of the future of the movement as it shined for the whole world in Poland. It rested on laurels that began to rot almost immediately and now have decayed entirely.

The great lessons of Solidarność and the Christian Democratic movements elsewhere revealed the natural and authentic progression for conservatism world wide. It was not just about fiscal policy. It was not just about stopping the Red Menace. It was about something so much more and so much deeper. When I think of 1985 and the triumph of Solidarność, I am oddly reminded of Lewis’s “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The Reaganites remember fondly the actions of Reagan and Thatcher, advocating for the Deep Magic from the Beginning of Time. They extolled the natural rights of men and stood against Soviet oppression and usurpation. Yet, Pope John Paul II revealed a stronger magic, the Deeper Magic: Solidarity.

That is where the Reaganites fell short. They embraced the Deep Magic, but it was not enough for Jadis to claim the life of Edmund and it was not enough to destroy the beast of liberalism. It staved off their destruction rather than prevented it. The Deeper Magic was what set Solidarność apart from Reagan and Thatcher. They eliminated the need for the Soviet collectivism with Solidarity. They destroyed the necessity of centralized planning with subsidiarity. They banished the envy of communism with the common concern and desire for private property for all men, not just a few and not to be held in common.

I am not alone in this assessment. Paul Gottfried, Raffensberger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and more conservative than Reagan himself says:

Listening to George Will pontificate recently on Fox News about his “conservative” principles, I had to ask for the millionth time what Mr. Will and his likeminded friends mean by “conservative.” And I don’t ask this question as a neophyte, having published more on the subject of conservatism than probably anyone else on the planet. But every time I hear the term used to describe a GOP position on just about anything, I have to wonder what makes that position “conservative.” Why for example is nation-building abroad, which involves imposing the latest model of American democracy on populations that are culturally quite different from the present American ruling class, a “conservative” position? And why is letting American working communities languish while our jobs are outsourced a “conservative” policy? The obvious answer is such stands are talking points deployed by the Republican Party as it works to hold on to certain constituents. These stands also happen to be those of the GOP donor base.

The frustration among conservatives is real and growing. The GOP is increasingly showing itself not only to be leaving conservatives behind, but actively suppressing them. With more and more attacks on the failing party of Reagan, it seems as though popular politics will leave the movement without a womb to incubate in this time and instead expose it to the harsh criticisms of both major parties. Unless there was a new home for conservatives, the movement in America will die. According to Joseph Pierce, also more conservative than Reagan, believes it is the American Solidarity Party.

The consequence of such a situation is that the two-party system in the United States offers a “choice” between the radical relativism of the so-called left and the radical relativism of the so-called right. It’s a choice between two forms of idiocy, Tweedledumb or Tweedledumber, with the only question remaining which is which, i.e. which is dumb and which is dumber. It is akin to the proverbial choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, except it is much worse. If forced to choose between drowning and the devil, only an imbecile or a politician would choose the latter….

In a radical advocacy of distributist and localist principles, which tackle the problem of Big Government collusion with Big Business, the ASP believes that “the surest path to really free trade is the removal of obstacles to domestic productivity, such as payroll taxes, government subsidies for cheap energy and big agriculture, and the hoarding of productive land for speculative purposes.” It also opposes the hydra-headed evils of globalism, opposing “regulations and loopholes” in trade agreements “that protect special interests at the expense of consumers,” especially those globalist agreements which offer “favorable trade status for countries in which workers are exploited, and to agreements that favor international corporations over local producers.” In similar anti-globalist vein, the ASP calls for “reform or replacement of international trade organizations (such as the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund) in the interest of transparency, accountability, and fairness to all nations,” opposing “the use of international financial pressure to restructure the economies of debtor nations.”

For those of us that are weary of Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber the policies of the American Solidarity Party come as a breath of much-needed fresh air in the stale and suffocating atmosphere of contemporary politics. It will be good for all of us if the ASP prospers. Its voice is that of an all-too-rare common sense in the midst of the present uncommon madness.

The ASP is gaining support from the grass roots conservatives that saw the major parties leave them behind. Writers like George Yancey and Fr. Dwight Longenecker have already shown support. Major columnists for conservative magazines like Gracy Olmstead have examined ASP as a viable alternative and an actual shift in the American political landscape. She asked where the  pro-life party was. We are it. We are the only one that will not compromise on the first and foremost inalienable right, unlike the two major parties. The conservatives that believed so strongly in Reagan are waking up to the reality that his Deep Magic was not enough. We need to deeper than the material, the political, and the social. We need to go to the very heart of man and see in ourselves the end for which we have been made. Conservatism, true and authentic conservatism, is found in Solidarity. That was the purpose of it the whole time. Like the Old Law being fulfilled in the New, so is the party of Reagan fulfilled in Solidarity. It is the necessary step out of the cave, out of the darkness of individualism and into the light of the Divine truth that is Solidarity. It is the final recognition of who man is, his place in society, and his destiny in this world. Conservatives, come home.

It worked for Poland, remember?

Seeking Solidarity: The Same Subject of Liberal Libertines Continued.

So long as the few remaining members of the terminal “party of Reagan” still gasp for breath to utter 30 year old conflicts and dichotomies, we shall be called socialists and impractical. Unlike them, we have real, objective principles based in a consistent natural law philosophy to hold onto and steer us towards the Truth and never tire in answering the quaint objections of our political great-grand sires in their dotage.

It may be said that our plans for a decentralized system of social assistance won’t work. The objection is that it allows people a means to vote themselves more money. While this would be a worthy objection if we advocated the same kind of irresponsible social assistance as other political parties, it is completely worthless in relation to our plan.

In the first place, and perhaps it was not made entirely clear in our previous treatise, our plan has an end, a goal, and objective. Unlike current plans that throw money at a problem in the hope it will go away, our plan seeks to bring each and every person the dignity they deserve. Public assistance is the means to the end i.e. private property. Every program must be designed with that end in mind. Man gains no dignity living off the charity of others and especially gains no dignity on public assistance. The whole reason we support public assistance at all is because we are pragmatic. We realize the very obvious fact that private institutions cannot currently handle the needs of the community. Furthermore, we recognize the government’s responsibility to protect the poor. As Pope Leo said:

“Still, when there is question of defending the rights of individuals, the poor and badly off have a claim to especial consideration. The richer class have many ways of shielding themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor have no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State. And it is for this reason that wage-earners, since they mostly belong in the mass of the needy, should be specially cared for and protected by the government.”

This does not mean that the government does or should intervene in all cases and instances. The greatest and prime power and responsibility of the government is to enact laws. In enacting laws, the government must encourage the actions of private institutions towards the same end as their programs. The government needs to ensure that the right to private property is preserved and protected, yet with special consideration to the needs of the poor.

As stated before, we do not offer specific plans. We leave the actual formulation of the various systems to the localities. Those systems, however, need to accomplish certain goals i.e. aid the poor in providing for the basic necessities of sustenance, shelter, and clothing and enable them to acquire, through their own artifice,  private property. Section 8 housing is a good temporary solution to an immediate need, but prolonged tenure there create ghettos from which few can arise. Food stamps provide substantial relief to struggling families but they do not solve the underlying problem of sound budgeting strategies and general home economics. The goal is that they have private property and receive, through their own careful labor, their own portion of the bounties of the earth. Using the government to “equalize” the various members merely reduces everyone’s dignity rather than raising that of the poor. Pope Leo writes:

Here, however, it is expedient to bring under special notice certain matters of moment. First of all, there is the duty of safeguarding private property by legal enactment and protection. Most of all it is essential, where the passion of greed is so strong, to keep the populace within the line of duty; for, if all may justly strive to better their condition, neither justice nor the common good allows any individual to seize upon that which belongs to another, or, under the futile and shallow pretext of equality, to lay violent hands on other people’s possessions.

We must stress that the central and overreaching difference between our plan and current ones is the goal of private property. It is not common property. It is not mere redistribution. It is not propping up the poor while keeping them poor. It is helping those in need until they don’t need help. The government cannot and should not do it alone or even with tacit cooperation from private associations. The whole community must come together in solidarity, meaning that the government and private associations must combine their efforts to meet the immediate needs of the poor and help ensure that they are given all they need–be it job training, monetary assistance, deregulation, home economy education, ease of taxation, etc–in order that they attain the goal of private property and standing tall with the rest of the community.

Another objection is that decentralized systems existed in the past and they failed to provide adequate services and resulted in current expansions. To answer this, we turn to Austria, one of the few countries that recovered quickly after the 2008 Financial Crisis. Austria’s system creates a synthesis between public and private efforts, keeping the majority of program control in the hands of local government bodies and institutions.

Now, the objection our political elders will no doubt raise at this point is that Austria is socialist and European and therefore not qualified to give advice to America. This is the prejudice of old men who have forgotten that we still have not recovered from the recession and now have a higher percentage of debt to GDP than these so-called socialist Europeans. Being a country of that size, having a quality of life that high, and being the 12th richest country in the world is nothing to sneeze at and it is worthwhile to take some lessons from our neighbors who are partially controlled and guided arguably the most successful and oldest Christian Democrat parties in the world.

Austria’s social insurance program, for example, is semi-compulsory but is mainly funded by employer and employee contributions under a pay as you go system. It operates much like social security in the United States, but the insuring agency is a private institution that belongs to a government association to provide oversight. These insuring agencies are designated in the various states in Austria together with specific occupational agencies. Thus, miners, businessmen, and farmers have their own agencies rather than all being lumped into one single payer system. What is especially interesting about the Austrian system is that special employment situations such as free lancers, part time employees, or the self-employed have options. If you are a truck driver making a certain income and self-employed, you can opt out of social insurance programs.

The whole principle behind the system is to have each person paying into the system have a direct interest in it while reducing the government interest. The government boards are, in fact, comprised of members of the insuring agencies so the private institutions–and by extension the employees and employers paying into them–have a say in their regulation. This is completely unconscionable to the American system where the only solutions are total abolition or  pumping more money into a failing system.

It is also good to note that Austria has been able to sustain these programs by only spending about 3% of their GDP and managing to maintain 1-3% growth. Their unemployment is lower, their quality of life is higher, their public debt is lower, and their median income is higher and rising. In our own country, we have rising poverty, rising inflation, rising unemployment, and stagnant wages. It seems we could learn from the Austrians.

The Austrians do have their problems but they have designed a social assistance system that limits government involvement, maximizes community efforts, and fosters the acquisition of private property. What we propose has been tried and it has been remarkably successful. It requires us to put away the tired old excuses and plans of the politically senile and moving forward with the guidance of tradition and authentic human development. After all:

It worked for Poland.