Sunday, March 05, 2006

Who is Mike O'Shea?

Since coming to DePaul University four years ago, my political beliefs have always been in accordance to basic conservative principles. I would characterize myself as a ‘philosophical conservative,’ which could be described as a hybrid form of classical liberalism. As a freshman in college, I was very much attached to the party lines of the Republican platform, yet soon discovered that ideology was more pure, and less hypocritical than party politics. For instance, I tend to be turned off by gotcha games in the political arena. I am more interested in assessing problems, debating, and writing or finding solutions to those problems; most solutions have nothing to do with government in my mind.

I am currently the Editor-In-Chief of a new conservative newspaper at DePaul entitled the Lincoln Park Statesman. The transformation of ideology from thought to paper has broadened my conservative prose and has enhanced my arguments three-fold. I am a firm believer that research is the essential foundation for coming to acknowledge what you espouse politically. It is my assertion that if you are uninformed about a particular subject area, you not only should refrain from speaking upon that subject, but you also have failed your duty as an American citizen to participate in the fostering of debate; the indispensable groundwork for a democracy to remain intact.

There are a number of different issues I feel relatively passionate about. First and foremost is my undeniable belief in personal responsibility. The bedrock of conservatism is founded upon this principle. Government intervention is almost never a good thing. It is my belief that the more a government adopts social programs or policies that regulate an entire industry, that the more you will see personal responsibility and individual freedom diminish significantly. Besides the fact that virtually all governmental programs are ineffective, the philosophy behind such intervention is faulty at its core. Why should government be able to take money out of my pocket and give it to someone who made poor, inadequate decisions early in life that ultimately disabled them from getting a job and making an honest living? The answer is that government should not have that authority. Government is here because as Madison claimed, men are not angels. Government is alive to protect its citizens from foreign threats and to protect individual liberty.

Another doctrine I hold very close to my heart is the belief in a free trading world. Countries with a liberalized market show higher economic standards of living than do countries with protectionist policies that uphold hindering trade barriers. To put a restriction on someone from selling goods in a land where they didn’t manufacture the product or grow the commodity strips man away from the primordial aspects of survival. Besides the fact that it’s the “law,” what grounds does someone have to disable or restrict one to sell goods and services in a foreign land?

I like to think I have a wide range of political knowledge, yet I am always eager and willing to learn more. I have an intense interest in history, as it is my other major, particularly presidential history. I truly believe that we are living in a moment in time that will never be forgotten. The litmus test for the success of the current implementation of freedom and democracy around the world will ultimately be in fact history.

A quick run-down of my stance, a philosophical conservative, on current issues today: pro-Iraqi War (a strong defense is vital to a Republic which is under attack by not only terrorism, but by an ideology of Islamic-Fundamentalism), strongly against Affirmative Action, pro-gun rights (fully support the 2nd Amendment), support fiscal discipline (something which the Republicans and Bush are making a disgrace of currently), against welfare and social programs alike, support a laissez-faire economic policy, strong supporter of free trade and against trade barriers, somewhat “against” the Patriot Act (although the need for protection of liberty was essential at the time it was ratified, whether it needs to be renewed is a different story, still no documented cases of abuse have come from investigations), support strong immigration reform, pro-life, support privatization of Social Security, strong belief in a supreme being (yet should be absent of government rule), support a Palestinian state, support a flat tax (current code is too complicated and absurd), against the idea of hate crimes, support capital punishment, support school vouchers, and against gay marriage (pro-gay rights and benefits).

I do not have a set political structure in life, but I do have a strong belief in personal responsibility and individual autonomy. These two ideas are the basis for my analysis of issues in today’s world, and are my guide to developing a solution to each of the issues. Hopefully this post will help you understand what I am all about.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

OOoOoOo...fun facts on Mikey..I like!

Commie Knight said...

I find it funny how so many people claim to be "true conservatives", yet every one of them will provide a different definition of a "true conservative". Some think conservatism is in fact a moderate stance. Others hold very reactionary views. Essentially, self-proclaimed true conservatives, though typically on the right of the political spectrum run from fascists and neo-Confederates on the big-statist end of the political spectrum (US Taxpayer's Party, Constitution Party, States' Rights Party) all the way up to the right-wing libertines on the minimized state end, which includes anarcho-capitalists and the vigilantists (including the NRA and the militia nuts) on the far right wing of this level to the more moderate libertarians. It always puzzled me how I've heard Fascists, Moderates, and Libertarians claiming to hold the true form of conservatism. While you no doubt have your ideas, I have realized that you are in fact a Reaganite. Usually when people think of conservatives, they think of the ideology of the Republican party today, the neo-Conservative ideology. Obviously, your stance is different from that of the Neocons.

For instance, you believe that with freedom inevitably comes responsibility, as indicated by such a statement:
"The bedrock of conservatism is founded upon this principle. Government intervention is almost never a good thing. It is my belief that the more a government adopts social programs or policies that regulate an entire industry, that the more you will see personal responsibility and individual freedom diminish significantly. Besides the fact that virtually all governmental programs are ineffective, the philosophy behind such intervention is faulty at its core."

Of course such a definition of conservatism is in no way incompatible with the Libertarian Party's platform. Even I agree to an extent that personal responsibility together with liberty is a good thing, and that this idea is good in principle. (Though I think the reality is that most humans are not responsible enough in reality.) Your stance on some issues on the other hand seem to speak against the libertarian ideology.

pro-Iraqi War
[the Libertarians, being isolationist would disagree]
strongly against Affirmative Action
[everyone on the right agrees]
pro-gun rights

support fiscal discipline (something which the Republicans and Bush are making a disgrace of currently)
[indeed, this sepparates you from the Bush Dynasty neo-cons]
against welfare and social programs alike
[Libertarians would agree]
support a laissez-faire economic policy
[again Libertarians would agree]
strong supporter of free trade and against trade barriers
[LP agrees again]
somewhat “against” the Patriot Act (although the need for protection of liberty was essential at the time it was ratified, whether it needs to be renewed is a different story, still no documented cases of abuse have come from investigations)
[somewhat ambiguous stance...]
support strong immigration reform
[again rather vague]
pro-life
[By pro-life do you mean abortion goes against your personal ethics (but that it is not the government's business), or do you actually advocate anti-abortion legislation including the overturn of Roe vs. Wade? If the former stance, then this in no way conflicts with your ideology or even the Libertarian Party philosophy (it's possible to be personally pro-life, yet politically pro-choice). If the latter, then you contradict your stance on personal liberty and responsibility and against big government intervention.]
support privatization of Social Security
[Libertarian]
strong belief in a supreme being (yet should be absent of government rule)
[As an atheist I obviously disagree, but of course I respect your right to your religion. If you truly believe that church and state must remain sepparate, that God does not belong in government, then your personal belief is not relevant to your political stance, but at least 3, possibly 4 of your stances on issues are clearly religion-based.]
support a Palestinian state

support a flat tax (current code is too complicated and absurd)

against the idea of hate crimes
[Libertarians agree]
support capital punishment
[Libertarians disagree, but everyone else on the right agrees]
support school vouchers
[Now this is puzzling! If you are truly the hard-ass capitalist you make yourself out to be, why would you support anything as crazy as this! I find it a tad hypocritical that you are against welfare and for privatizing social security yet you support snatching our tax dollars and handing them to PRIVATE (i.e. non-tax-supported) schools! Nevertheless, you would have lots of company among the NeoCons.]
against gay marriage (pro-gay rights and benefits)
[I think the Libertarian stance is that all marriage should be abolished (in the sense of being legally married), and that everyone, a bride and groom, groom and groom, bride and bride, groom and more than one brides, etc. should be entitled to civil unions, but given the religious connotations of marriage, people should get married in private ceremonies, be they solemn religious ones or campy Vegas ones. Regardless, you could at least consider yourself a "compassionate conservative" on this one.]

In short, while your general philosophy and economic stance is well in accord with libertarian principles, you clearly disagree on social issues. I am sure that not one of your stances on the issues is in disagreement with Reaganite Republicanism (except your opinion on school vouchers), so you probably would not jive well with the neo-cons of today's Republican party.

CaptainAmerica said...

School vouchers are not a capitalist program? They most certainly are my friend. Think about it, all a school voucher really does, is give the parents the ability to choose their child's public school choice.It allows people to spend THEIR tax dollars where they want their kid educated. The voucher system would create competition amongst schools. This competition would force schools to compete against one another, thus providing incentive to attract more kids to their school system. Poorly performing schools would close down where improving schools would get the kids and the funding from the kids. It also promotes disadvantaged kids to attend private schools, thus creatinga more free society of your own tax payer dollars. Vouchers make sense. Besides, I'm sure you agree Milton Friedman was no neo-con, and he fully supports school vouchers.