12.23.2014 0

Are Democrats or Republicans moral?

By Rick Manning

Christmas is upon us.

The parties are done.  The office schedules are winding down.  Rush hour traffic is a hint of its normal self.  Salvation Army bell ringers stand over their buckets jammed with cash.  Rudolph, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Miracle on 34th Street have all been on television ad nauseum.

Driving through my town of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, the light displays are up and as festive as ever, ranging from a lighted penguin sliding off an igloo into the ground to the massive crab pot Christmas tree that adorns City Hall.

Yet somehow in spite of it all, people just don’t seem as cheery this year.

In spite of government released end of year happy economic news and the Dow hitting 18,000, the specter of discontent and uncertainty seems to hang over our nation.  The new normal of police being targeted to die for defending civil order, cyber warfare hacking, and an indifferent political class that is more interested in keeping score than protecting the nation seem to have overtaken the Christmas spirit.

Into this context, I was asked an interesting question by a pastor after a recent social media drive that saw elected officials from one political party embrace it more than those from the other in spite of the best efforts to generate interest.

In spite of indifference by some in the political class, the local food pantry earned a $20,000 grant from Walmart and those in need will be helped.  However the question asked by that pastor lingers and demands an answer:  which political party is moral and which isn’t?

My immediate answer was neither.

Political parties are not designed to be moral, they are designed to provide a common affiliation for competing points of view related to the division of government power.

This does not mean that they don’t take stands on moral issues like abortion, gun control, taxes and redistribution of wealth, it merely means that, as entities, they are amoral.

The real question being asked was whether the Democrat Party, due to its focus upon the poor, is more moral than the Republican Party, with a traditional focus on business?

The Democratic Party makes no apologies for being advocates of using government to redistribute wealth.  At its most raw, Democrats believe that political power should be exercised to compel an individual, under threat of being jailed, to have a greater percentage of their earnings seized and given away to meet other people’s priorities.

Republicans for their part have long ago given up the pretense of opposing funding this tax extortion, and have changed their focus to a battle over how to lower the caliber of the gun that government puts to the head of every earner by making the impact of taxes less capricious and devastating.

Both parties enjoy the social engineering aspect of manipulating the tax code to create winners and losers in the marketplace.  If there was any doubt, just look at the House vote on the so-called tax extenders bill which used the cable television bundling trick of putting one or two middle class tax cuts that were impossible to vote against along with a bevy of corporate goodies like the Wind Production Tax Credit.

When the final vote was tallied in the Republican-controlled House, only 46 lonely souls of either Party voted against it.

Not surprisingly, Grover Norquist, who has made his living playing the anti-tax crusader, urged lawmakers to support the special interest tax breaks putting him squarely on the side of the Silicon Valley billionaires seeking research tax credits and Warren Buffett looking for more government money to justify investing in windmills.

No moral heroes there.

On the spending side, Democrats are clearly much more willing to spend other people’s money to help causes and groups that are near and dear to their hearts (usually with a political motive in mind).

Does this make those who support limited government and oppose wealth theft by the government immoral and uncaring?

No. In fact, once you break away from the political party labels, the only moral position is the limited government one.

Why should someone on the left be forced to pay a full share of taxes when the wealthy and powerful game the tax system to avoid paying theirs?

And similarly, why should a conservative be forced to pay so someone who makes less money can file a tax return and get a larger refund than they paid into the government?

The limited government supporter knows that the larger the government, the greater the likelihood that it will be corrupted by those who seek favor or merely hope to survive its overarching presence.

Yet, how does someone who supports limited government reconcile opposition to social welfare programs like food stamps that meet people’s basic needs, and still be considered moral?

It is simple.  By using their earnings as they choose, the limited government supporter makes a moral choice every time they spend, invest or give away their resources – a set of decisions that get made in more than 150 million American households.

High performing food shelters like Chesapeake Cares Food Pantry will thrive because the collective impact of those 150 million household decisions will reward them.  The call to feed the hungry resonates and the truly non-profit faith-based solutions will flourish as people know that they are the social safety net, not some far away bureaucrat driven agency.

Which political party is moral?

It doesn’t matter.  In this Christmas season, the only question is whether each one of us as individuals are being like Christ?

Remember, Jesus Christ never told his disciples to go to Rome and demand that Caesar feed the hungry, but what he did tell Peter after he was resurrected is instructive.

On the shore of the Sea of Galilea, Jesus reinstates Peter after his fateful thrice denial on the night before Christ’s crucifixion by giving him this charge as found in the Book of John Chapter 21, verse 15-


“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

This Christmas, as we celebrate Jesus’ coming into the world, God with us, it is time to reflect.  Are you feeding His sheep?  Are you caring for them?

Contemplate this and perhaps the real Christmas spirit will come upon you and the idiocy in the news will fade from view.  Just something to think about.

Merry Christmas.

Rick Manning is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government

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