If you’re unfamiliar with Dr. Brian Russell, I suggest you check out his blog.  Here’s what he had to say following two weeks of speeches.

“After enduring two weeks in a row of them and being asked to provide my overall comparative analysis, here it is, in terms of “Party A” and “Party B”:

The “Party A” speakers had it relatively easy in my opinion.  That party’s speakers essentially just had to promise voters that the government will make sure all of their basic needs in life will be met and paid for by someone else, either today (by someone who’s earned more money in life and/or by someone who started a business or an insurance company back when we respected people’s freedom to contract with one another for work, wages, premiums, and benefits) and/or tomorrow (future generations of Americans).

The “Party B” speakers had it much harder in my opinion.  They had to argue for the need to limit the size and scope of the government’s role in their lives, to depend upon the government to carry out only certain existential functions that are necessarily the government’s while depending generally upon individuals (including voluntary associations of individuals) to carry out altruistic functions that are necessarily society’s.

Party B’s speakers had to argue that private property rights are at the foundation of both our economic and civil liberties, that there’s nothing “fair” about the government taking disproportionately-large shares of certain Americans’ lawfully-acquired private property, simply because they have it, even though they receive nothing disproportionally-large (in fact, they generally receive less than other Americans) in the way of government services.

Party B’s speakers had to argue that contributing nothing to the public treasury (as roughly half of Americans now do) and accepting payments from the public treasury that are not truly needed (roughly 50 million Americans now receive food stamps, and there’s simply no way that one-sixth of all Americans are incapable of feeding themselves and their children – we never would’ve survived as a species, let alone a nation, were that the case) warrant remediation before we even consider demanding more from those who already contribute more than any other segment of our society (i.e. that every American needs to have “skin in the game” and that, if it’s morally repugnant for some among us to deny additional help to the needy, then it must become equally morally repugnant for others among us to accept help that they don’t truly need).

Party B’s speakers had to argue that freedom of contract is important in preserving our foundational private-property rights, that legislatively obligating private parties to make payments to other private parties against their wills, while receiving no additional value from the recipients in return, is essentially the confiscation and redistribution of the payers’ private property (e.g. requiring health-insurers to insure people with pre-existing conditions is like requiring homeowners’ insurers to insure homes that are already on fire – that’s not “insurance,” it’s just wealth redistribution).

Party B’s speakers had to argue that voters need to live within their means, that their ability to borrow money, both individually and collectively, is limited and that austerity is coming, either gradually, on their terms, or eventually and abruptly, on their creditors’ terms.   (Party B also had to try to get voters to understand  that “bailouts” only delay austerity by creating the illusion that it isn’t necessary, thus ensuring that future, deeper debt crises will occur).

Party B’s speakers had to argue for the importance of personal responsibility, of ascertaining who’s responsible for adults’ bad outcomes in life and holding those individuals accountable (rather than sparing them consequences, reinforcing irresponsibility, and fostering entitlement attitudes by embracing collective responsibility for individual adults’ poor decisions in life).

Party B’s speakers had to argue that the world remains a dangerous place, that the most important function of the government is to protect its citizens against physical threats, both from within the country’s borders and from without (which, again, requires the government to focus its limited resources on existential functions and to leave altruistic functions to the society at large to undertake, independently of the government).

And Party B’s speakers had to argue for a need to recognize all human life as human life, even when it’s a painful reminder of a horrendously-traumatic experience, and for the simultaneous lack of a need for the government to confer legal recognition upon romantic relationships that can’t produce children (essentially deeming the committed co-parenting of minor children by the mothers and fathers who made them to be the optimal parenting scenario generally, both for the children and for the taxpayers of America, and the only acceptable justification for the government’s  ratification, encouragement, or support of anyone’s romantic relationship).

So which party’s speakers did better in my opinion?  While Party A’s speeches may have sounded better overall to many Americans, I think that Party B’s speeches contained better substance overall.  Now which party is “Party A” and which is “Party B”?  I’ll leave that differentiation to you.”

It’s a no brainer for me.

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