Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The World According To McDonnell

The following are some quotes from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell's masters thesis. Trusted reader, I leave it to you whether you want a person with this basic political philosophy to be the chief executive of our beloved Commonwealth.

The modern American experience can be seen as an ideological battle between the forces of democratic capitalism and socialism, with the latter's attempt to "substitute the power of the state for the rights, responsibilities and authority of the family."

The vast majority of American children have been educated in the public school system, in which text books and courses of instruction are increasingly oriented to humanist values and a secular philosophy. The undermining of respect for parental authority in favor of state direction or individual autonomy, and the simultaneous purging of religious influence in the public schools has impaired the development of healthy family members. Values that had historically provided strength to the family, such as firm discipline and corporal punishment, patriotism, and academic achievement, were either attacked or given token attention.

The Declaration of Independence, the charter of American liberty and foundation for the U.S. Constitution, declares that our concepts of rights, duties, and authority are derived from the Law of Nature and Nature's God. From this Judeo-Christian heritage of the founding fathers, it is clear that the Creator is a God of order and authority, not chaos and autonomy. Each institution in society has been instituted by God for specific limited purposes.

The family as an institution existed antecedent to civil government, and hence is not subject to being defined by it. It is in the Law of Nature of the created order that the Creator instituted marriage and family in Eden, where he ordained that "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to this wife, and they shall become one flesh." Family arises out of this divinely-created covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, the terms of which can neither be originally set nor subsequently altered by the parties or the state. . . The family as a God-ordained government has an area of sovereignty within which it is free to carry out the duties it owes to God, society, and other family members, under the covenant.

In addition to the family and the individuals who comprise them, God has ordained the institutions of civil government and the church as the foundation of order in society. . . [I]t is these three which have sovereign spheres of jurisdiction in which to exercise authority delegated by God. Although there is some overlap and partnership in pursuing the ends of a just and moral society, each institution has certain responsibilities given exclusively to it.

The church has a monopoly over the administration of the sacraments and it alone possesses the "keys of the kingdom" to preach the gospel and determine church membership. As the mouthpiece of the Creator to be salt and light to individual souls and social institutions, the church has the teaching authority to expound upon the Scripture, and, along with the family, to care for widows, orphans, and the poor and disadvantaged. It should be the primary source of support, counsel and restoration in the event of family dysfunction.

The civil government was ordained to secure the inalienable rights of individuals created in the image and likeness of God, and to facilitate a society in which other institutions are free to perform their covenental duties to God and others. The state alone, with the exception of parental discipline of children, bears the authority to punish wrongdoers, for the civil ruler is a minister of God to execute judgment and encourage good.

Government, by definition, is to provide leadership to encourage righteousness and justice among and discourage wrongdoing among the governed. To that end, however, government is enjoined from replacing family function with agencies of the welfare state, such that dependency and apathy are generated. While families may fail in providing a high standard of care, unless there is abuse, the permissive intrusion of the government is unwarranted.

The state, more directly, may intervene to protect individual members of families, and within its police powers, may do what is necessary to advance their health, safety, and morals. However, government at all levels must "support family parenting as the first premise of its social, economic, and fiscal policy."

The family is a self-governing institution upon which the natural law confers the duties of procreation, nurture, and socialization of children through marriage.

The normative view of institutional interaction in society is seen as a symbiotic relationship of unique entities with the compatible goal of serving other human beings and glorifying God. Both church, in its provision of financial and spiritual support, and the state, in its protection of life, liberty, and marriage, have a role to strengthen and promote healthy family life. The family, in turn, must inculcate religious values, tithe, and give time for ministry in order to support the church, while exercising the discipline of self-government and stewardship necessary to produce good citizens for the body politic.

It must be made clear that the government has no independent authority to prescribe conduct for the family, rather the authority arises out of the state's duty to protect the marital covenant and individual family members.

For at least 8 years, Republican domestic policies have demonstrated that man is capable of doing good only in an atmosphere of liberty and faith, not compulsion and atheism. However, man's basic nature is inclined towards evil, and when the exercise of liberty takes the shape of pornography, drug abuse, or homosexuality, the government must restrain, punish, and deter.

There should be no intervention where Constitutional and statutory powers do not allow, where principles of federalism grant exclusive state authority and where family autonomy circumscribes. Policies presupposing that government is a benevolent agent of social change fail to understand the social and legal order, and function as a long-term detriment to building strong families. . . Policies, however, must be sufficiently realistic to acknowledge that man lives in a broken and sinful world formed by his inherent selfishness, but should be geared to facility the model.

Despite improvements made in the 1986 Tax Reform Act, Republicans should still work to eliminate income graduation, deduction ceilings in the tax code, and advocate the modified flat tax proposal of the 1984 platform. A taxation system that procures revenue based on an ability to pay, and awards deductions and distributions based on need, is socialist in its underlying philosophy, and impairs the family's ability to transfer property.

Notwithstanding Democratic rhetoric to the contrary, it is not uncompassionate and anti-family to mandate parental consent for all decisions made by minors in and out of school, and to refuse government aid to families who reject the traditional values of responsibility and accountability. While no government program can make people be good, policies should reward people when they are, and not subsidize them when they are not. For example, every level of government should statutorily and procedurally prefer married couples over cohabitators, homosexuals, or fornicators. The cost of sin should fall on the sinner not the taxpayer.

The real enemies of the traditional family - materialism, irresponsibility, feminism, lust, and ultimately selfishness - are largely outside the sphere of federal impact.


MusingMadrichah said...

Such blatant prejudice (and ignorance) in political figures never ceases to astound me. The idea that secularized schooling is causing the demise of education is totally ludicrous. There are so many other things that are so much more important. How about instead of spending so much money to send kids to war, spend some money to give them a better education. And he says that feminism and homosexuality are the enemies of the "traditional family". If your really that worried about preserving family, the logical thing would be to cut down on divorce. Seems to me that splits up a hell of a lot more families than anything else.

Bert Berlin said...

In the interest of full disclosure: Mr McDonnell did state that divorce was one of the major problems facing the American family. It is not quite clear whether he considered it a symptom of family breakdown or a cause. In his 15 recommendations for the Republican Party, he advocated elimnating no-fault divorce.