My wife and I were discussing politics today as we often do and I discovered that while we agree on the issues—surprisingly almost entirely—we really differed on our hot buttons.
Her big ones are illegal immigration and health care. She will pass on a candidate that advocates restricting immigration or wants to socialize medicine. She asked what my priorities were and I had to confess that I'd never thought about ordering them. To me, when nearly every candidate's position on nearly every issue erodes liberty and reduces freedom, it's hard to say which sop is most important.
Thinking on it more, though, I realized that that is really only true in the longer-term. In the short-term, I judge candidates mercilessly on the degree to which they'll likely hinder my life. So here's my top five:
- Health care: wrecking our health care system by adopting the public systems of generally-socialist countries frightens me greatly. It's ironic that many of these same countries are moving towards privatization due to the serious problems they've encountered. This is literally a matter of life and death to me. And once the health care system goes socialized, its vestiges will be with us for many generations to come.
- Global warming: I think that greenhouse gas emission reduction is, at once, the most grievous threat to our economy and the least in our control. The march towards some sort of "solution" seems inexorable and Senate ratification of whatever dreck the global community spews means that it's the law of our land. I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court can't second-guess international treaties.
- Welfare: entitlement programs represent a blank check on my wages. What's worse, as the rest of the economy suffers under the inevitable interventionist policies of presidents and Congresscritters the welfare rolls swell. The money's got to come from somewhere people and that somewhere is the labor of the successful.
- National service: the call to required sacrifice chills me to the core. I'm way past the age where this would be a personal issue, but I do have kids and I would hate for them to be pressed into service against their will at any point in their lives.
- Stem cell research: I hate that such fundamental scientific research is funded and controlled by the government. The sad fact is that it is and there's no way around it at present. Stem cell research, from what this ignorant layman can gather, represents the future of medicine. This could easily be a life or death issue at some point for me and mine. I hate that it is being held up because some people feel like a freaking embryo is a person with rights.
To be sure, I care about a lot of other issues but these are the big ones. Soon I will write up how I plan to appraise candidates through the filter of these priorities. Hint: it ain't easy because there is no candidate that matches for me.