The Four Principles of Conservatism
The Four Principles of Conservatism
Hon. Steven Arnold King
The Four Principles of Conservatism
April 8, 2014
THE FOUR PRINCIPLES OF CONSERVATISM
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 3, 2013, the Chair recognizes the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King) for 30 minutes.
Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to be recognized by you to address you here on the floor of the House of Representatives, and I appreciate this privilege to do so. It is something that I would encourage a lot of the Members to participate in and express the wishes of their constituents and their opinions here on the floor so that not only you can turn an ear and listen to this presentation here tonight, but also so that it inspires dialogue all across America.
We will remain a free country and we can remain a constitutional Republic if we have open debate and open dialogue and if the values of the American people remain consistent with our roots.
I would first, Mr. Speaker, start out with listening to the dialogue of the gentleman who spoke ahead of me, and I would note that his statement that there are people that went ahead of him and his family that are blue collar, it seems to me to be maybe a generation removed from the real America that most of it is blue collar. And I think it is important to note that this country that we are is not going to continue to prosper unless we have people whom people respect and honor and who produce goods and services that have a marketable value here at home.
For those that get paid to pontificate--I, among them, okay--that is an important function also. For those who get paid to sit on the couch, that is not so important a function. But those that produce goods and services that have a marketable value here and abroad are the ones that grow our economy. In the private sector, it allows us to be competitive with the countries around the world. I think of my neighbors, many of whom are engaged in agriculture and how we compete with the most competitive economy in the world and we compete in a favorable way and we set the pace. We set the pace in productivity. We set the pace in efficiency. We set the pace in quality and in food safety. That is the circle around my neighborhood that you can see in any direction looking out from my house.
I am proud of those neighbors who produce those goods and services that have a marketable value here at home. A lot of that, most of it is the kind of thing we would call blue-collar work. I am impressed by the professionals that come here to Congress.
I came from the construction world, hands-on, in the ditch, shovel in hand, grease gun, wrench, steering wheel, yes, pencil and calculator from the lowest guy on the totem pole to the guy who started a company to now a second-generation King Construction Company. We have been engaged in this economy for I believe this will be our 40th season that we are engaged in now.
You see the flow of the economy, and you have respect for those who put their hands, their back, and their mind to work every day. I appreciate, also, a great deal these values of America, the roots of who we are as a people.
I was observing this morning, as I was getting ready to leave my place, that there was an individual who was interviewed on FOX this morning in their morning show by Steve Doocy, and it was Mallory Factor, an author I happen to know, an individual I count as a friend. He laid out the four principles of conservatism, and I thought it was a useful thing. I took the notes down and put them in my pocket because I believe he is exactly and succinctly right that this country needs to be rooted in those principles of conservatism. Without them, we are cast adrift.
Here are the four principles that he laid out:
The first one is respect for the tradition and wisdom of our past generations. That is a fairly succinct way of saying our Founding Fathers got it right. They laid down a foundation, a foundation in faith, free enterprise, and fidelity that has been the foundation for America becoming the unchallenged greatest Nation in the world. And if we are to stay that way, we need to remain respectful to the traditions and wisdom of past generations.
The second one is a rule of law. Mr. Speaker, you have heard me speak often and consistently about the rule of law. Lady Justice is often portrayed as blind. The statue of Lady Justice is of her holding the scales of justice, perfectly balanced scales of justice, weighed equally on either side. But Lady Justice is blindfolded because she doesn't see class or race or ethnicity or sex. She sees simply here is a human being before the court to be treated the same as any other human being, regardless of where they might sit in the social stratification by wealth, by race, by ethnicity, by sex, whatever the qualities might be. Whatever the qualifications might be, Lady Justice is blind, and the rule of law must apply to everyone equally. That is number two.
The third one is the belief in an individual freedom and liberty. And I will go a little further than Mr. Factor in that these rights come from God. Our Founding Fathers understood, articulated, and wrote: We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men--and that means men and women in the vernacular--are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.
It is an individual belief, the belief in individual freedom and liberty--not a freedom that is granted to you by government, not one that is bestowed upon you by the sovereign or the king, but this God- given individual liberty that comes from God that we then entrust from the people to the government. We loan our sovereign rights to the government to organize our society.
Government doesn't have the power. It is we the people that have the power, and we loan that to government. And if it is the other way around, if government grants rights, then government can also take those rights away. If that is the case, we would be similar to many of the other governments, many of the other civilizations, and we are not. We are the United States of America, founded upon four of these conservative principles.
All of these principles are conservative principles: the respect for tradition and wisdom of past generations, the rule of law, the belief in individual freedom and liberty, and the fourth thing is a belief in a law higher than man's law. That is God's law.
Mr. Speaker, those are the four principles of conservatism. A little tidbit of wisdom that came out this morning--and I made a little note and slipped it in my pocket--I think it is important that we here in this Congress reflect upon those values that made America great and what it is going to take to strengthen those values, restore those values, and carry America to the next level of our destiny.
When this Congress deviates from those principles, when this Congress deviates from the Constitution, when the Congress deviates from individual rights, and when the Congress decides they can tax some people and transfer that wealth to other people and somehow be a leveler or some kind of a wealth transfer that resolves this class envy issue, then America is diminished because what it does is it diminishes the vitality of our people.
If you get out of bed and go to work every day and you know that Uncle Sam is going to get his share, the minute you punch that timeclock, Uncle Sam's hand comes out; and when he gets what he wants for the day, it goes in his pocket. Then the Governor's hand comes out, and he puts it in his pocket.
Then you have some other taxes to pay along the way, and when that is all done, some time in the afternoon, you get to actually work for yourself and your family.
Well, that is a little bit depressing to think you don't get to work even in the morning. If you go to work at 8 in the morning, you are taking your lunch break before you are getting anything for you and your family.
Now, what if the government is sitting there taking it all? What if it was we are going to confiscate all of the money you earn? Then we will deal it out to these other people, and you will get your government welfare check just like everybody else; and we will all have the same resources to work with.
We are all going to have the same amount of food, clothing and shelter, and recreation. We are all going to have the same health insurance policy. We are all going to drive an equal-value car, but some have to work, and those who don't want to don't.
Think about that. I have heard that. I have heard that debate on this floor. People will say--from over here on the leftist side of the aisle, they will say those that want a job should have a job, which implies that those who don't want to work shouldn't have to.
So if they are able-bodied and able-minded, then they should be contributing to this economy or have earned and stored up the wealth to sustain themselves, not tax the other person that is punching that timeclock or going to work for that salary because what happens is, pretty soon, the one who is being taxed to fund the one who is not working figures out that it doesn't pay so much to work.
It happens in the margins, so people start moving across from one side to the other; and over time, you will have good, smart, productive people who are smart enough to figure out that it doesn't pay for me to do this any longer, so they will drift over into maybe a part-time job, maybe work under the table, maybe some black market stuff, or they will tap into some of the 80 different means-tested Federal welfare programs we have in this country and take their standard of living up above that they might have if all they did was work.
That is where this country has gone. The welfare program has grown so great that it has discouraged some of our most productive people. It is a disincentive. It discourages me that, if we are maybe a generation removed, as I listened to the gentleman from the Hudson Valley, he is a generation removed from blue collar, I would like to think that we are always going to need blue-collar people.
We are always going to need for this country to have a middle class, a middle class that is growing in numbers and increasing in prosperity in relation to the productivity that they are putting out, and this country is always going to need to compete with the other countries in the world.
We can't just collapse down into the idea that we are going to be an economy that has professionals that live in gated communities that hire servants at a cheap rate, and then they will have the people that are a diminishing middle class and the unskilled and the low skilled that will make a meager wage, always keeping that meager wage down by a refueling of legal and illegal unskilled immigrants coming into this country that can only compete in the unskilled jobs.
The highest level of unemployment that we have--the double digit unemployment in this country are the people in the lowest skilled jobs. So how is it that almost every Democrat and a pretty respectable number of Republicans can leap to this conclusion, which is we need more unskilled workers, we need more of these workers to come in because it will grow the economy?
Well, just because you have somebody, if you bring in 1,000 people-- and we know that we are going to have to educate the children especially and the youth, we will have to provide health care and housing and nutrition, the food, clothing, and shelter--as I said, 1,000 people could come in, and if one of them does a day's work, that contributes to the GDP, the gross domestic product.
So if the day's work of one in 1,000 contributes to the GDP, they, by their definition, say the economy is growing. The economy will grow if you have more and more immigration, and they don't say unskilled.
Well, we have an opening here for some skilled people to come into this country. We have an oversupply of unskilled. We have 101.4 million Americans of working age who are simply not in the workforce--101.4 million, that is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The numbers total this: those 16 and up who are of working age, plus those who are on unemployment today--officially signed up on unemployment--add those two numbers together, 101.4 million.
A third of our population is of working age and not in the workforce. Yes, some are retired, and some are handicapped, and some are homemakers, and some of them are in school; but a whole lot of them could actually be recruited to come into the workforce and
produce that good or service with marketable value and increase our GDP.
What is the cost to our society for putting more of the people--the 101.4 million that are not in the workforce, what is the cost to our society? What if we called 10 million in? What if we called 20 million in? What if we brought 30 or 40 million of the 101.4 million in and put them in the workforce? What does that do?
Well, a significant percentage of them are on welfare and unemployment, so they are off the welfare and unemployment rolls. That reduces the burden for the taxpayers. When they go to the workforce, they are in the productive sector of the economy. They take their wage. They pay their own payroll tax. That means they are paying their Social Security and their Medicare and their Medicaid, so we get a twofer.
We reduce the welfare rolls. We get more and more taxpayers. We bring Social Security into balance just simply by virtue of more people going to work, and we have less of a deficit in our entitlements--Medicare and Medicaid--because they need less of it.
That is what happens if you get this country going at the right direction. There are a number of ways to do that. You can't do it with a President who doesn't believe in work, for one thing; and when they learned, according to the CBO score, that ObamaCare would cost this economy the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs, in other words, 40 hours a week times--and that is 40 hours, not the 30 hours that are in ObamaCare--40 hours a week times 2.5 million workers, that is the reduced amount of productivity that comes because of the disincentives to work that are associated with ObamaCare.
That is the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs. What does the administration say? They say: well, that is going to be a good thing because, if you are a homemaker, now you get to make more home. If you are an artist, you get to paint more paintings. If you have hobbies, you get to pursue your hobbies; and if you are a parent, you get to spend more time with your children.
This is the first time, I believe, in the history of this country, that a President of the United States and his administration have taken the position that less work was good for America, which just goes to show you that human beings have an almost indefinite capacity to self- rationalize, Mr. Speaker.
That is what happened with the Obama administration. They have exercised their almost infinite capacity to self-rationalize on piece after piece of this. They moved their socialist agenda, and then they self-rationalize along the way, and now, we are watching as ObamaCare has been a mess. It has been a debacle, and we are watching these numbers.
The administration says we got 7.1 million people to sign up. That was their goal of 7 million. Miraculously, they overshot it by a little bit. What we don't know is how many of those 7.1 million were insured before ObamaCare; how many decided that they would opt out of their existing policy and into an exchange policy; how many of them lost their insurance because of ObamaCare and had no choice, if they wanted to remain insured, but to opt into an exchange under ObamaCare; and what percentage of the 7.1 million were actually uninsured without affordable options and found their way onto an ObamaCare exchange and purchased insurance.
Once you go through all that, how many of them were not subsidized out of the 7.1 million?
What would be the point, Mr. Speaker, and if we look at a society that supposedly had 48 million people without their own health insurance policy, I really wasn't alarmed by that because I don't know where the right comes from to own your own health insurance policy, but we provided health services to everybody in this country, at a minimum, to those who show up at an emergency room.
So somehow, they twisted this around to everybody has a right, everybody needs to own their own health insurance policy.
I stood on this floor 4 years ago or so and made the argument that, of the 48 million--when you subtract from that those who qualify for Medicaid and, from that, those who make over $75,000 a year and presumably could buy their own health insurance, those who qualify, those who are unlawfully present in the United States, and you subtract from the 48 million, down to the number of those who are uninsured, your 48 million became 12.1 million, which is 4 percent of our population in the entire health care system of the United States, the insurance system and the delivery system, is entirely redirected, transformed under ObamaCare, to try to get at that 4 percent number.
Meanwhile, it looks to me that we will have more people uninsured, not less. By the way, if you want to sign up in the rest of this year, sorry, you are out of luck; you missed the signup deadline. Now, except for some narrow conditions, you will not be able to get insurance in this country. It is a calamity. It is one of the calamities.
Another one of the calamities, in the time that I have remaining, is a reflection upon the hearing today where Attorney General Holder came before the House Judiciary Committee.
His testimony comes about once a year before the Judiciary Committee. It is our job to have oversight over the Justice Department. We have done that for a long, long time.
As each of the members of the panel questioned Attorney General Holder under oath, here is how I reflect upon this: I asked Eric Holder if he still held the position he did when I last questioned him, in that the Department of Justice is an independent department that doesn't take directive from the President, and his job is to provide equal justice under the law.
He agreed with that statement. I think it is a proper way to frame the job of Attorney General, but to argue that the Attorney General is not politically influenced by the President of the United States is a pretty tough argument to make when you think of this, Mr. Speaker.
I take you back to 2008. This was in the last weeks--or, actually, the last months of the Bush administration. Senator Ted Stevens, for 40 years, represented Alaska in the United States Senate. There were charges brought against him that were evaluated and investigated by Federal officers of the FBI.
On October 27, 2008, Senator Ted Stevens was found guilty of charges of corruption brought against him. Eight days later, he lost his election to now-Senator Begich in Alaska.
In October of the following year, former-Senator Stevens was killed in a tragic plane crash, but here is the modern news, Mr. Speaker: on March 27 of this year, it is announced, in a little news story that hardly got any play, that at least one of the FBI agents, Mary Beth Kepner, has been severely disciplined, and that discipline has been imposed for--let me say violations during the investigation and the prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens.
Now, he is dead. He can't speak for himself. He was convicted in a trial that took place and was concluded 8 days before his election. He narrowly lost the election in Alaska. This prosecution, if it was investigated and operated in the fashion that would be reflected when you see the language that Mary Beth Kepner, one of the FBI agents, was severely disciplined, and that discipline has been imposed, what is the discipline? What did they do?
Do we think Eric Holder is prosecuting, now, Mary Beth Kepner for her involvement in the prosecution of Ted Stevens, which may or may not have, but likely did bring about a change in the election of the United States Senate, so that it gave the Senate a 60-vote Democrat majority, and they were able to cram through components of ObamaCare that they would not have been able to cram through otherwise?
This, you would think, would be worthy of at least a comment on the part of Attorney General Eric Holder to look into and see: Is it worthy of, now, investigation and prosecution? Or could you at least release a statement as to the acts that she committed and the investigation that you did? If the case is closed, tell us.
When you have FBI agents improperly conducting themselves to the extent that the Holder Justice Department severely disciplined them, you have to wonder if it didn't change the course of history.
You have to wonder, if the FBI had not conducted themselves in that fashion that brought about the severe discipline, would Ted Stevens have been reelected? Would that have changed the results in the United States Senate? Would we, maybe, perhaps, not be living under ObamaCare today if those actions had not taken place inside this Justice Department? You would think the Attorney General would look into that or at least have a comment. That is number one.
The second one would be the very aggressive overreach of the investigation of Aaron Swartz, and that topic is something that brought about his suicide, and there has been much dialogue in this country about that.
Another one that I brought up to General Holder is this: the investigation and prosecution of Conrad Barrett. Now, we have all, Mr. Speaker, heard about the knockout game in this country. It is when youth, generally speaking, will go pick someone and decide, I am going to punch them and knock them out in the street, and see if I can do it with one punch, and my buddies are going to see me do this. Sometimes it is videotaped, and we see this on television. In the cases that I have seen and in the cases that have been reported, it is almost always black on white crime. The knockout game appears to be black on white crime.
I fought against, as well as did Louie Gohmert of Texas, the hate crimes legislation because that just turns into a tool, and when you punish someone for what you think they think rather than for the overt act that they commit, you are getting into an area of law that allows for a lot of discretion on the part of the prosecution, and it may or may not result in more justice. I believe we ought to severely punish the people who are committing the overt acts, but we should not have gone down the road of the hate crimes legislation because that becomes a tool that can be used now to divide people against each other based upon whatever particular minority group we might be in.
You would think, with a country full of black on white crime and with a knockout game--something that has been all over the news for months now--that Eric Holder could find a way, if he wanted to prosecute a hate crime, to pick one of those African American youths who has gone in there and slugged and punched out someone on the streets who was targeted because of their difference in race. Instead, the Justice Department picked Conrad Barrett, a white guy who punched an African American, in order to play his side of the knockout game. If he is guilty of this, of course that is wrong, and he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We have States that can prosecute those kinds of assaults and violent acts, but it strikes me that the others didn't fit the profile of the Holder administration, so they went after the one example of the white guy and the African American victim instead of all of the white victims and the African American alleged perpetrators. That stands out to me.
The next one is the prosecution of Dinesh D'Souza, who did the movie ``Obama 2016. Yes, that hurt the administration. It brought some things out about where this administration is going, the Obama administration. He is no friend of the administration's, but it is alleged that he directed $20,000 through friends to be given to a U.S. Senate campaign in New York. That is alleged. I don't know if it is true, but that is the allegation. Yet it must be true that there are thousands of Americans who have done a similar thing for a lot more money. The Holder Justice Department couldn't find them, but they found Dinesh D'Souza to target for prosecution.
They also targeted for Federal prosecution Governor Bob McDonnell, in Virginia, who has five former Virginia attorneys general who have vouched for the language of the law and who have said they believe the Holder Justice Department has stretched the limits of that. We shall see how that comes out.
Governor Chris Christie had a problem with the traffic being closed on a bridge, and it created a national furor, but within a week, the Holder Justice Department was investigating Governor Chris Christie for his use of the funds for the Sandy relief fund.
Now, how is it that the Holder Justice Department isn't going to look into the FBI's transgressions in the Senator Ted Stevens investigation, which brought about, I believe, a change in the result of that Senate election and a change in ObamaCare? How is it that they are not going to look into the overzealous prosecution of Carmen Ortiz and Aaron Swartz?
They are going to prosecute Conrad Barrett for a hate crime, and they are going to continue to prosecute Dinesh D'Souza, but it is just a coincidence that he produced ``Obama 2016. They are going to continue to prosecute Republican Governor Bob McDonnell and Republican Governor Chris Christie while they let people off the hook, like the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia; James Clapper, who contradicted himself under oath, which would be, if proven, a perjury charge; Governor Jon Corzine, a Democrat from New Jersey, while there is $1 billion missing in Global Crossing, and we can't find a way to investigate him; Lois Lerner, who is manipulating the IRS to persecute the President's political enemies, and the investigation has to take place by subpoena, in contempt of Congress, because the Holder Justice Department has turned a blind eye because the President has said there is not a smidgeon of corruption in the IRS; and exempting entire classes of people from prosecution, like illegal immigrants who haven't committed serious crimes. They are exempt from prosecution and removal, and with marijuana, huge companies are exempted even though it is Federal law. With DOMA, Attorney General Holder has refused to defend DOMA before the Court.
Voter fraud instead, by the way, they prosecute. They bring action against States like Texas, which simply want voter ID, and they allege that Texas is imposing a poll tax and that it is a racist plot.
That is what we have, Mr. Speaker, in the Justice Department today. It is hard to call it justice. It is going to be hard to take this country to the next level of our destiny. These values that I have brought out in the beginning--these values of respect for tradition and wisdom of past generations, the rule of law, individual freedom and liberty, and a belief in a law higher than man's law--we must restore in this country if we are to restore the pillars of American exceptionalism.
With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.