I have a very low opinion of politicians in general. Every election is, for me, an odious experience wherein I vote for the candidate that disgusts me the least and might act for liberty 25% of the time instead of the rest of the field's 10-15%. As I have mentioned before, the only candidate I ever supported to any extent was Steve Forbes.
When the Goldwater Institute announced yesterday that it had developed a pledge of support for individual rights—reproduced in full below—that political candidates could endorse, I was dubious. Politicians will say anything to get re-elected and candidates will say even more. Furthermore, the understanding of "individual rights" among politicians is utterly laughable.
When I saw the initial set of signatories, I had my suspicions confirmed. The list includes such luminaries as Tom Horne, Andrew Thomas, and Russell Pearce. The few other signers I recognize are your standard conservative fare—guns, God, and gringos.
What is going on in the state of Arizona now and in most of the recent past has nothing to do with individual rights. A principled defense of individual rights is simply not possible for an unprincipled politician who daily spends the property his legislative signature causes to be stolen and restricts the freedom of those his legislation enshackles. You can't be both the whip-master and the abolitionist.
Individual Rights Protection Pledge
I support the opening declaration of the Arizona Constitution which reads, “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights…” I pledge to use my elected office to protect and maintain the individual rights of the citizens of Arizona. I will focus my lawmaking authority on keeping government focused on its core functions in an effort to protect individual rights. I will carefully consider how each vote I make and each law and regulation I support will impact the right of Arizonans to live their lives free from excessive government interference. I pledge that actions I take as an elected official will comply with the Arizona and U.S. Constitutions.
Furthermore, I pledge to respect the intentions of our state’s framers by complying with the spirit of the taxpayer protections included in our state constitution. Specifically:
- I will respect the intention that our state founders set by including a debt limit in the Arizona Constitution. I will commit to stop deficit spending. I will not vote for a budget that adds to the state’s (or county’s) structural deficit, including sale-leaseback or securitization schemes and “roll-overs.” I will not vote to increase the size of any program’s budget, including education, while the state (or county) faces a structural deficit.
- I will respect the intention that our state founders set by including the “gift clause” in the Arizona Constitution. I will support tax proposals that apply equally to all taxpayers. I will not support laws that single out certain industries or individual companies for special tax benefits or penalties, except those that eliminate tax or regulatory burdens that are specific to one industry.