- protecting our rights - not granting them (which the government has no power or authority to do); this includes the rights to life, liberty, and property, freedom of speech, freedom to practice our religion - well, read the Bill of Rights for the full list; you get the idea. This doesn't mean protecting us from our own bad decisions.
- defense - the military on a federal level, the police force and fire department on a local level
- regulating commerce - not to make business decisions for us or to decide on productivity levels or where we should invest, but to protect us from one another where necessary (we are, after all, sinners); includes infrastructure
- the judiciary - again, because we're sinners there will be crimes committed and there will be disagreements between people which need to be settled
- relations with other nations - including treaties and immigration.
In addition to that, I'm a fiscal conservative who doesn't believe in debt (the only debt we have is our 16 year-old mortgage and we're working to pay that off as soon as we can) or consistently living beyond one's means. Tax dollars spent by the government actually belong to the people who paid the taxes (something most politicians and recipients of government largesse have conveniently forgotten or never knew). I also believe that the free market, while not perfect (nothing sinful man is responsible for can be), is the best economic system ever devised by man, giving the most liberty to the most people and raising productivity and standards of living. (Recommended reading: Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt and Basic Economics, by Thomas Sowell)
Do I vote for the lesser of two evils? Or do I vote for a third party candidate who shares my views on most of the issues even though he probably has no chance of winning? Do I vote principle or pragmatism? And is it really pragmatic to vote for the lesser of two evils?
No answers today, I'm afraid. Just questions.