A look at the First State Patriots and subsidies

The First State Patriots is a group of Delaware citizens who believe that “the only road to peace is through liberty.” Liberty, in this case, is defined as free from government control, and peace is, well, we're not sure the connection yet. 

Currently, the group is fighting Delaware’s incentives for solar and wind energy installations.

In the last two years, a new ideology (well, not new by a long shot) has stolen the spotlight. The Tea Party movement, first popularized by Ron Paul, exploded onto the scene after Barack Obama was elected (the group was silent while our last president inherited a surplus then spent us into a deficit, but don’t let that confuse you).

The idea is that the government is doing too much, taxing too much, and overstepping its powers set by the constitution.

Oddly enough, many groups, including the First State Patriots, co-opt quotes from Thomas Jefferson, who was actually one of the first presidents to overstep his powers by purchasing land from France, but that’s another story.

The consensus is, taxes are bad, government is bad unless it’s protecting us from immigrants, and subsidies, if we are to follow the FSP’s recent uproar, are intrinsically wrong (However, I wouldn’t hold out hope that the group or any of its like-minded cohorts will ever speak out against the corn subsidies this country pays to keep the prices low, corn a cash crop, and all those wonderful high-fructose syrups and the like in our ever-expanding stomachs).

The problem with the new ilk of politico-ideologues is this: the lack of logical connective tissue between their many decries. Tax is bad, and subsidies are bad, unless they support an industry like our industrial agriculture corn producers, who use about 30 percent of our country’s land for the crop.

But where do these groups get their ideas from?

The FSP says it was formed using Glenn Beck’s 9-12 Principles and Values. First of all, Beck is a pundit. Let’s please get our values and principles elsewhere, but that’s not the point. Many logistical pratfalls, contained within this holiest-of-holy set of rules, are all too apparent when you compare the values to the principles. Here’s one.

Principle 7:

“I work hard for what I have (sic) and I will share it with who (sic) I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. Charity: ‘It is not everyone who asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worth of the inquiry or the deserving may suffer.’ George Washington.”

So, sure, the government can’t force us to be unscrupulously charitable.

In Principle 7, you have a statement about what the government cannot force you to do. If we are to use Washington’s quote to guide us, he’s plainly making the distinction between those who deserve charity and those who ask. Although not all are deserving, we cannot ignore all who ask.

So one can only assume that this means that we should never trust the government to tell us to be charitable, because the government has no possible method of checking who of its recipients are deserving or conniving—unless you factor in that the government allocates funds based on income and distributes social funds to those who live under the poverty line. 

But then you read on and find that Value 6 is “Charity.” There’s no caveat or qualifier. It simply says charity.

In the end, are we supposed to be charitable, Glenn? Who knows? 

The point is, and I know it’s taken a while, the groups that are preaching liberty are still mucked up in ideological and philosophical confusion. And I think I have an idea about why. It’s simply a collection of disenfranchised angry folk, nothing organized or meaningful. Every displeased man, woman, and child was given the go-ahead to harp on whatever it is he or she is angry about.

“Taxes, sure, they suck; let’s stop ‘em.” But how? Oh, no one knows.

“Subsidies, they suck; let’s get rid of them. I mean, I don’t want to pay for them.” OK, then, let’s pay the market price for produce, meat, gasoline, oil, and basically every mined, fished, and built good in this country. Can you afford to eat now? You can’t? OK, so no one knows how to do that either. Fair enough.

“How about getting rid of illegal immigrants? They’re law breakers, and we can’t afford to share our ailing job market with them.” OK, so let’s stop shipping our cheap, heavily subsidized corn to Mexico, so its citizens can farm it, which will provide jobs in Mexico for Mexicans. Oh, now that the subsidy is gone, we can’t afford to buy corn, glue, beef, and whatever else we use corn for in this country.

At some point, I suppose, we’ll need to force our country’s factories to stop advertising in Mexico that there are manufacturing and labor jobs in the U.S., and when we do that, we’ll just pay twice the amount for all meats, manufactured goods, and construction because those plants now have to pay workers a living wage.

I guess the sentiment here is: Nothing is perfect.

We’ll never achieve the utopian ideals that created this country—no country will, or has ever.

However, dialogue is healthy. Speak up, and try to change what you can, but remember that without a strong logical point, without a thought-out plan and argument, nothing changes. If you can point out that by subsidizing an industry, you create a fake foundation, which could at any point crumble and bring down said industry, fine. It’s true, and that consequence is very real. But know that most of the industries in this country already had or still have that leg-up.

And in renewable energy’s case, it really is a smarter decision to pollute less. Only someone with interests in a competing industry would argue otherwise.

So do you oppose all subsidies across the board or just the ones that you aren't directly, at this moment, benefiting from? Do you have a solution?

Unless you have a good argument, step aside, and let us do something good and smart for a change.

Image courtesy of the Washington Independent