As a conservative Republican, I want to apologize for the false impression that was demonstrated today in the editorial page. I am very reluctant to have anything to do with the opinion page of the Newburyport Daily News because it seems it attracts the extremists from the populace.* Like some kind of political ping-pong game, the rest of us are watching from the sidelines and getting neck strain from the left-right action.
Today, it was the Libertarians and a Leftist Democrat. Just as the Democrats have to put up with their extreme left wing, we have to put up with ours. No traditional Republican from Abraham Lincoln’s time onward would have such an affiliation to Libertarians – to hold to such radical concepts is to deny our American tradition of a checks and balance society in which the individual, church, family & government interact for the benefit of all. No self-respecting Republican would be against taxes, against government and against the general welfare of society. Every good Republican champions a balance. We want government to do its traditional role of protection, church and similar organizations shaping our ethics & morals and families doing the hard job of rearing up good citizens.
I HATE the populist notion that has been spread around the world, “American is a land where you can do anything you want.” That was not the foundation by which our land was founded especially by the groups that landed right here in Boston and Newbury. Our new nation was to be founded on the principle, “Everyman did that which was for the common good according to what God has determined to be the common good.”
A favorite quote by which even conservatives cling to is the address made by John Winthrop as they were landing to found the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is the famous City upon the Hill address that politicians croon over:
” … For this end, we must be knit together in this work. … We must entertain each other in brotherly affection; we must be willing to abridge our selves of our superfluities, for the supply of others necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor, and suffer together — always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work — our community as members of the same body. … [F]or we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill. The eyes of all people are upon us …”
Libertarians on the other hand believe in the tyranny of liberty. I will do what I want to do – and I don’t anyone telling me what to do. It ‘sort of’ works if you’re an ethically-driven moralist answerable to God. It’s the living hell of Revolutionary France with its Reign of Terror if you have no moral compass.
In today’s editorials, the basic concept is that NO ONE has a right to tell you what to do. The building inspector, who has the power to levy fines and to evict you from your home over safety issues, is a rogue. Each neighbor is pitted against each other as everyone does what they feel is in their best interest. The police who keep the community safe is a devil if he crosses your threshold to quell domestic violence. The City has no right to put a tax lien on your property nor the right to enforce ordinances especially zoning. And the idea of fellow citizens reviewing building permits is offensive to them.
And Libertarians are all over the map since Liberty is their guiding principle. Some are anarchists advocating the complete elimination of the state. Minarchists wish to limit the state to protecting its citizens from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud. Some worship, as in this case, private property; while another sector advocates common ownership. Philosopher Roderick T. Long defines libertarianism as “any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals”, whether “voluntary association” takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives. According to the U.S. Libertarian Party, libertarianism is the advocacy of a government that is funded voluntarily and limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.
Massachusetts government is not setup that way. Historically our nation was not setup that way. Our society is not setup that way. And definitely Newburyport’s city government is not setup that way regardless if a Democrat, Independent or a Republican is in the corner office. Such practices might work in Yahoo Land (Seabrook) but would be disastrous for Newburyport.
So as not to be sucked up into their extremism – just remember – local historic districts are just zoning. Zoning that has limited control over private property. The big difference is the component of design review is added. Notice the quiet peaceable lives of those living in the Fruit Street Local Historic District. Notice the entire city is not in ‘chains’ even though zoning is in control.
DON’T LET THESE RADICALS DESTROY WHAT IS BENEFICIAL TO OUR CITY!
* On the other hand, I loved the excellent editorial from Paul Breau!