Most traditional political issues have two well-argued sides.  Each side ignores the points made by the other and forms their own clean and simple answer to a problem.  To a Modern Whig, however, each of these answers has its own share of pros (included) and cons (arguments raised by the opposing side).  Modern Whigs are not constrained to choosing one of the traditional answers, but instead analyze the issue afresh, including all factors, ideas, and data to determine the best answer for Americans.  This requires careful thought and research to weigh the conflicting ideas and find answers that consider as many factors as is reasonable.  This derived answer is not found by picking a point in the middle.  It is not made easy by ignoring items that do not support it.  It is found by applying reason to a complex world.  These derived answers are seldom straightforward enough to result in a quick and simple answer.  We believe that the Modern Whig answer for a political issue is more complete and honest, however, because of this process. 
Principles, on the other hand, are not complex at all to a Modern Whig.   Exceptions to one of the principles below are rare so it is easy for a Modern Whig to condense them into a few words.  Not everyone sees these principles so clearly, however.  We believe that many failings of our government are caused by politicians making many exceptions these principles.   We therefore take all of these positions very seriously and are not willing to budge on them even a little.   There is not an exception clause or a nuanced position to be found in our understanding of them.  While our platform indicates the result of how we think, our principles are who we are.

We support the Constitution as the basis for the rule of law in this country.Too many politicians are making up rules as they become deeply entrenched in discordant party lines and challenge any reasonable person who would stop them. We believe this presumptuous, yet all-too-common behavior in politics is dangerous and could undermine the trust Americans have in our constitutional system of checks and balances. When that belief falls below a threshold, the rule of law becomes irrelevant to the governed as well as those who govern. We stand behind the Constitution as written in 1787, as amended over the years, and as interpreted by the Supreme Court. We will defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic.
We stand behind all the liberties guaranteed to us in the Constitution and its amendments.We will hold out a large stop sign whenever government overreaches its authority and attempts to deny anyone of any of their inalienable rights. These rights cannot be given away, nor can they be taken from us without due process.

We stand for equal representation in government for all citizens. 
Our government no longer represents most Americans. Instead, it represents special interests willing to donate large sums of money to political campaigns for special favors. This is un-American and a shame upon all of us for tolerating it. We do not support candidates that take special interest or corporate donations and never will. We do not believe a democracy can remain healthy while it permits public officials to trade favors from the government for campaign contributions.

We stand for a balance between government’s responsibilities of sound economics, protecting the environment, and promoting the general welfare of all citizens.We do not believe that raising the priority of one of these three responsibilities well above the others is healthy for society as a whole. We will be poor in spirit, poor in health, or just plain poor if balance is not maintained to provide the best solutions for Americans.
We stand for electing honest and humble public servants who serve all of the people.We do not need a political aristocracy that believes their constituents are their servants instead of the other way around. We do need public servants who will serve all their constituents, who will work tirelessly to solve their problems, and who have the courage to inform them when a tough decision is needed. One corollary to this is that it is unrealistic to expect that all our public servants will be filled with integrity, humility, and a modest heart if the people they serve are corrupt and sell their vote to the highest bidder. As voters, we have a responsibility to hold ourselves and our elected officials to a higher standard.
We stand for solving problems today rather than kicking the can down the road for political expediency.We are here to help. Delaying solutions to make an upcoming election more winnable is not why we are here. Once the can is kicked, the kicking never seems to stop. As Harry Truman famously said: “The buck stops here.”

We stand for using the best answer reason can provide to solve a problem rather than using the only answer a given ideology allows.Parties will claim they use common sense to solve problems, but what they mean is they will draw on the same simple one-sided answer they have always used that never achieved results. Modern Whigs can choose from any viable solution that exists, be it right, left, or center, to find the best possible answer. We will examine all of the data and arguments to solve the problems of our country and fellow citizens. This gives us maximum ability to resolve national, state, and local issues by collaboratively finding what solutions work rather than avoiding compromise and clinging to solutions that do not work.
We stand for preserving our environment. No one wants to breathe pollution, drink contaminated water, or have harmful chemicals introduced into their own bodies. We do not want the ugliness of a scarred land, a garbage filled landscape, or soot coating everything we touch and the inside of our lungs. We neither want the beauty in nature lost nor do we want to show our grandchildren pictures of recently extinct animals. We do not want to ignore the threats of anthropomorphic global warming. By exercising a relatively small level of restraint and respect for nature we can live in a clean world that inspires us and hand it intact to future generations.

We stand for supporting the health, safety, and general welfare of all of our citizens.A country can be wealthy and allow some of its citizens to suffer, but it cannot be great if it can stop suffering within its borders and it chooses not to. Education, immigration, political violence, social security, and healthcare should all be high priorities, yet nothing is being done to correct well known problems in these areas that threaten our citizens today and in the near future.
We stand for respecting and serving all Americans, not just those with the same viewpoints.Political divides are reaching dangerous levels. Many groups are losing respect for their fellow citizens and their right to hold an opinion different from their own. People on both sides need to be heard instead of shouted down and silenced. Civility and respect are necessary components of democracy while abuse and hatred put us on the road to dictatorship.
We stand for civility, flexibility, and compromise in negotiating our way through difficult problems with many points of view.People have a right to a different opinion and even to have their sacred cows, as long as they hold the latter to a reasonable minimum. In a mutually respectful environment, we can find the common ground and guide negotiations to help bring progress in solving problems. The key is being respectful. The opposite is occurring, however. Disrespect overwhelmingly creeps into political discussions. The opposing side of a debate is often seen as deluded, selfish, or just plain evil. Compromise is taken off the table as debaters refuse to negotiate with what they claim is evil. While Modern Whigs understand that negotiating with true evil is itself an evil, calling a difference of opinion between two reasonable sides evil and refusing to negotiate is likewise immoral. Compromise in the latter case shows respect for the opinions of others and allows progress on finding solutions to problems that cause Americans harm. Not compromising makes our citizens suffer without a solution, which is the true evil.

We stand for equal treatment of all groups under the law.There is no room any longer in this country for dividing people into groups for the purpose of denying one or more groups their rights. The right to pursue happiness is not limited by race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. There have always been arguments put forth claiming that an entire group should have one or more of its civil rights restricted. This is the very definition of prejudice and is unacceptable. When we examine arguments from the past that sought to limit rights for American citizens, the true aim of such positions was often to perpetuate an advantage of one group over another. We must be better than that.
We stand for small government that is responsive to the people and serves them rather than seeks to pick away at liberty and income.Big government is wasteful of resources and often gets big by providing services without an end goal in mind. Scope creep does the rest. Typical government departments are also, in theory answerable to Congress, but in practice they can levy fines and make directives to citizens without an independent means for citizens to seek relief if they are unfairly fined or if services are withheld. Big government eventually takes on a life of its own, perpetuating a problem rather than finding a solution. Small government that helps people help themselves is more efficient and impinges less on people’s wages and liberties. There are examples in the private sector today such as the United Way, the Star of Hope, and other groups that help people help themselves. Government needs to learn this lesson.

We stand for an end to verbal intimidation and physical violence to silence the political views of others.The marketplace of free ideas will select the best ideas and scrap the worst ones as long as all ideas have free access. This is the basis for free speech and why it has worked so well for us when it is allowed to flourish. We cannot tolerate any level of intimidation on free speech or we start the process of losing it. Violence or threats of violence used to stop the sharing of any ideas is an anathema to democracy. How then do we respond to those whose viewpoints are also poisonous to our democracy? We respond to these as we always have. We allow people to peacefully express their opinions, no matter how objectionable, and then we give our own opinions on these disparate, even toxic, views. Americans will wholeheartedly reject a message of prejudice and hate. Allow the poison to be aired so they see it rejected and have no fantasies that censorship is preventing their ideas from taking hold. They will fail instead because they have terrible ideas that are incompatible with what America stands for.

We stand for capitalism and free market economies. While unbridled capitalism, as exhibited in the late nineteenth century, was harmful to society as a whole, a number of checks and balances have been placed upon it in the last one hundred years. This very American compromise has removed many of the excesses of capitalism while retaining its wealth-generating abilities for society. While people have argued whether the controls today are too heavy or too light, one can also argue that our economic system has out-performed every other system in generating wealth for all our citizens. Self-interest, when controlled, provides motivation in the form of monetary reward to produce more wealth.

We stand for meritocracy. When the intelligent, creative, talented, and hard-working are denied proper reward from these traits, they have less incentive to use them, and society as a whole suffers. Society must reward achievement with financial and social success or lose a major incentive for our most productive citizens to help drive the economic engine that supports us all.

We stand with the American people rather than for or against an ideology, a party, or a particular person.If a person or party does something that deserves condemnation, their “side” will rush to their defense, making the same arguments the other “side” made when their person or party did the same thing. This is intellectually dishonest and a waste of a lot of energy. We put our faith in the American people. We are on their side and no one else’s.

We stand behind the right of the voter to choose the candidate that will best represent their interests.The once powerful privilege of giving all of the political power in this country to the voter has been corrupted beyond recognition. Two candidates have a realistic chance to win an election for most elected offices, but often, neither truly represents the voter. The voter no longer gets a real choice and is therefore robbed of their rightful political power. We cannot allow this most important right to be made so completely irrelevant to the process. We support election reform.

We stand for independent and critical thinking in solving problemsAnswers must explain all cases, include all data, consider all dependencies, respect the rights of individuals, conform to traditional standards of fair play, and not contradict any of our other principles.  Further, an answer must reasonably solve the problem, be practical and cost-effective in its implementation, and be carefully examined to mitigate unintended consequences.  Finally, the time and resources involved in implementation must be reasonably accounted for and not be so burdensome as to prohibit success.  This is a much taller order than picking the answer an ideology proscribes, but our nation’s problems can have a very high impact on our lives.  They deserve care in finding the best answer. 

  • Tim Cotton
    published this page 2017-12-03 17:56:36 -0500