The John Adams Society

William G. Carpenter                John Pope                          Larry Colson              Roger Belfay

Chairman                             Secretary                              Chief Whip                    Chancellor


November 2006


A WAR IS RAGING FOR YOUR MIND and a person can easily be drawn into the mass hysteria stirred by the left who want conservatives to believe that President Bush doesn’t really represent them, and that his free market exuberance is leading us into the jaws of a government that is growing to consume us all.  President Bush’s encouragement of faith based and community initiatives augments what he hopes will become an Ownership Society, one in which individuals are free to be responsible for their own healthcare, retirement, and education, because "… ownership brings security, and dignity, and independence."  President Bush has also kept the usurping UN and the World Court at bay, fought for tax and tort relief, dedicated administration resources to protecting religious freedom and traditional American values… are these not the actions of a conservative?  And he’s managed them with no help from Katrina and a stock market recoiling from the irrational valuations of the 90’s, all while fighting enemies of freedom and allowing the economy and global markets to grow harmoniously.  In so doing, there had to be compromise of some programs, of course; that is the way of politics.


The founders of America spelled out in the United States Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  This means that the sovereignty and free will of the individual is more important than one’s origin or label; that individuals, not states or institutions, have said God given rights; that objects of idolatry, like fads and the politic, come and go and can be corrupted for unintended outcomes; and that the amoral interests of the state pose the greatest threat to liberty.  Understanding as much, President Bush signed an executive order establishing the President's Board on Safeguarding Americans' Civil Liberties.  Further, given how far the left has shrewdly twisted the US Constitution to further statism, President Bush’s conservatism necessarily parts from conservative tradition for damage control.  Yes, the government has grown under President Bush, yet, relative to U.S. Gross Domestic Product, the government’s Non-defense Consumption Expenditures & Gross Investment is relatively close to 40 year lows, and it is yet tiny in light of the free world we should come to know as American, not as a domination of people by anyone, but as a governance of each and every individual by and in their own sovereignty.


ON THE OTHER HAND, President Bush long ago dismissed true conservatism, swapping small government and the founder’s federalist tenets for omnipotence.  In Indianapolis on July 22, 1999, he called notions of cutting government back a "destructive mind-set… we must correct it [government], not disdain it."  Though, often times, a speaker of conservative ideas, President Bush has not demonstrated the ideological perseverance to really convert them into policy, instead settling for their nominal inclusion in bills of the status quo.  Such pragmatic compromising is unbecoming of a conservative, whom we’d expect to be skeptical about government’s capabilities and intentions outside of functions of a court system and defense.  So, as might be expected, the consumer in the Ownership Society remains bound to government choices; campaign pitches for dismissing the Department of Education and issuing vouchers evolved into making schools accountable with a new layer of bureaucracy in the No Child Left Behind law; Healthcare Savings Accounts were pinned onto a massively unfunded Medicare prescription drug bill – now expected to crowd out private insurance; and the Department of Homeland Security (now including FEMA) represents huge new expenditures.  Ironically, in this time of war, defense doesn’t really seem a priority: military spending relative to both GDP and non-defense spending hasn’t been this low since before WWII, 180 bases are slated for closure, total troop numbers are near 50 year lows, border security is questionable, and getting several domestic Navy ports under the management of foreign government owned firms does not seem very strategic.


The Chairman, wondering if old conservatives will survive the war for the new world has called for a debate:




The Debate will be held on Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul.  The debate will begin at half past seven, following a lecture at seven o'clock p.m by Dale Carpenter, Julius E. Davis Professor of Law University of Minnesota Law School.  While there is no dress code for attendance, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies should adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen who arrive tieless yet wish to speak, fret not: the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand at least one of his quite remarkable ties for just such an eventuality. Questions about debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (612) 822-8941 or the Secretary at (952) 486-8059.