The Schoenhaus Theorem of Positive Conservatism

Republican ElephantAs you know by now, I am a registered Republican and a conservative thinker.  I side with Republican conservatives on most issues, but not all Republicans and not all issues.  I couple of things led to me coming up with a theorem including knowledge of the so called Limbaugh Theorem explaining how Obama can get re-elected with a majority of the nation sold on conservative solutions.  The flaw in the Limbaugh Theorem is that is cannot be tested and was not properly tested in the 2012 election.  Mitt Romney told 47% of Americans he didn’t like them.  People like people who like people so many people including middle-class conservative thinkers either held their noses and voted for Obama or didn’t show up at the polls.

I remember in junior high when I was first exposed to the political continuum.  On the far left, there was the word radical; which usually referred to someone beyond liberal; since Soviet Communism was alive and well back then, this spot was usually reserved for communists.  Between radical and the center line was the word liberal.  With The 7 Train’s sophisticated audience, I consider that a self-defining term.  On the center line was the word moderate.  My father considered himself a moderate since he was a journalist for the Bridgeport Post before the takeover and strived to report everyone running for office equally.  Moderates are not value neutral and can still be agents of change.  To the right of center was the word conservative; and the way it was taught to me at the time was that a conservative is by definition one who wants to preserve the status quo.  This is where the conceptual anomaly begins because the world is always changing and the status quo is always being redesigned.  Then to the right of conservative was the word reactionary.  According to my eighth grade social studies teacher, a liberal wants to change things, a conservative wants to keep things the same, and a reactionary wants to go back to the past.  This is where the continuum breaks down.

Those of us who want to learn from the past; drink from that fountain of wisdom inherited to us by our Founding Fathers, and return America to the days when it was the land of opportunity and not entitlements call ourselves conservatives, not reactionaries.  This is how my theorem evolved.  While the 2012 election served as a wake-up call to the modern-day Republican party that it has to transform itself if it wants to elect presidents and majorities in congress, the consensus of Republicans registered with the party but not holding public office is they want a true conservative.  It got me thinking; is the party made up of mostly conservatives or reactionaries?  The word reactionary is not very marketable; it implies they react to the heat of the moment and panic.  Are they reactionaries that are marketing themselves as conservatives because it is a kinder, gentler term?  Remember, life insurance is death insurance; it pays your loved ones money when you die.  But nobody bought death insurance so they renamed it life insurance.  It became apparent to me that the fundamental definitions of conservative and reactionary have morphed since my eighth grade days.

To make a simple example, I am a conservative and yet I support indoor smoking bans 100%.  You may think that goes against the grain for my support for less government and more freedom of choice.  Conservatives like me did not induce this change; a piece of scientific evidence emerged redefining the health hazard associated with tobacco as public, not private.  And it is not unreasonable, even as a conservative to want to protect children, asthmatics, and others who are suffering by not their choice, but somebody else’s.  Every freedom is partnered with responsibility and it is not a responsible use of freedom to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness at the expense of someone else’s life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—I believe our Founding Fathers actually understood this.  A reactionary would not see it this way; a reactionary would stand against indoor smoking bans as they would consider it a simple infraction of their right to choose.

The basic statement of the Schoenhaus Theorem is as follows: a conservative is a knowledge-based right-sided political thinker, politician, or freedom-fighter; a reactionary is a knowledge-deficient right-sided political thinker, politician, or freedom fighter.  To apply the Theorem to developing the algorithm to revamp the Republican Party, the party must support conservatives, recruit conservatives and educate the public on conservative political philosophy, and weed-out the reactionaries.  It is the reactionaries, not the conservatives that are harming the party, the agenda, and the rebirth of the American Dream.  Ronald Reagan was a conservative, not a reactionary.  So was George W. Bush albeit negativity of starting the second war in Iraq will always stigmatize him.  And Rick Santorum is true conservative who probably will not be the next president.  Marco Rubio fits the bill and he may very well be our next president.

Since I live in a blue state (Connecticut) I need your help.  If you are represented by Republican senators or in the House in your district, try to make an intelligent determination as to whether your representative(s) is/are conservatives or reactionaries.  And make a point you want conservatives, not reactionaries, representing your party and your nation!

I support limited government because I am informed and I can do the math.   There are many millionaires and 371 billionaires in the world; no one in the history of mankind has ever became a trillionaire.  Yet, the United States of America has managed to create a $16 Trillion deficit.  This should make it clear to anyone of average intelligence or smarter that America cannot tax its way out of debt.  Limited government is the only affordable government at this time.  I am extremely sympathetic for those who depend on entitlements; it’s not their fault, they inherited the entitlements created by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.  But if there is no way to fund the programs, they are going to disappear anyway.  It would make much more sense for the people we elect to represent us on The Hill to begin consolidation of the entitlements by (1) not abolishing, but privatizing anything that can be privatized; (2) investing in American manufacturing and energy resources; (3) creating and supporting small business-friendly policies; and (4) begin an educational process where those not yet entering the work-force learn how to both survive and prosper without entitlements to lean on.

The two things most problematic about this sequestration are (1) as I mentioned, the fact that spending is still being increased, and (2) it is non-selective; meaning everything is being cut equally across the board.  It is more sensible to eliminate entitlements and social programs that are either not needed and can be privatized than to underfund everything, resulting in higher taxes and increased spending to retain programs but stymie them so they are useless, and nobody benefits from them.  This is like instead of spending $50 to fix the clock, I will leave the clock broken, put the big hand on the 12, the little hand on the 5,and spend $20 for s sign to put under the clock reading It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere.  The result is I avoided a $50 expense, but still increased spending by $20 for something that does nothing.

There is a corollary to the Schoenhaus Theorem that involves when America reaches the point of no return; i.e., when America will have no choice but to go bankrupt.  The corollary works by determining the smallest possible government that can still effectively govern this nation.  While I profess limited government and that limited still implies a quantity greater than zero, we need to look at what I will term minimum government.  To calculate minimum government, reduce the Federal Government’s functionality to exactly what it was in 1789.  I believe the military was the only government service at the time, but do not go below the 1789 government; remember, the Articles of Confederation was an abysmal failure leading to The Federalist Papers and ultimately our current constitution; so 1789 is the baseline.  Then look at the House of Representatives, where the number of districts, and therefore the number of representatives is proportional to the population of the state.  It is not mandated by the constitution that there the House must be exactly 435 members wide; so we are not talking about reapportionment that occurs after every census-take, but contraction to the minimum number of congressional districts.  In order to make the model work, you cannot reduce every state down to one congressional districts, as this will give every state equal representation and the Constitution guarantees one house of congress to be population-based.  This will probably require studying the congressional map of the original thirteen colonies in 1789 and get an idea of the maximum number of constituents one congressman would basically represent.  With a reduction in size of the House of Representatives, less salaries will be paid in Washington, D.C.  Put the dollar on the gold standard and eliminate the Federal Reserve; this is purely a hypothetical model.  Then calculate how much money (in gold certificates) would be required to operate this minimum government.  Heads up!  It could still accrue debt; the cost of running a 1789-esque government is not what it was in 1789.  In 1804 an acre of land from the Louisiana Purchase sold for 3¢ an acre.  Today, a first class postage stamp is 46¢; how many 46¢ stamps does it take to fill an acre of land?  If the nation remains in insurmountable debt (my guess is $100 Million or more) operating on minimum government, then America has reached the point of no return.  If my calculations are correct, the window to fix America is still open if America acts now toward sensible spending cuts, limited government, and job creation.

Once the minimum government model is established, one can extrapolate the maximum affordable government and since even affordable government can infringe of fundamental freedoms, the optimal government will be somewhere in-between minimum government and maximum affordable government, setting the benchmark to proceed forward with the development of prosperous twenty-first century America.  Now let’s make it happen.


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