A premise is a fundamental proposition that one accepts to be true. It is used as a starting point for reasoning or taking actions. If they are wrong, so is the reasoning or actions that follow. Our premises not only determine our politics, they are basic to our general understandings about the world around us.
Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand contended that philosophy is much like math or science in that there can be no contradictions. Whenever a contradiction appears to exist, one need only to check their premises. They will find one of them to be wrong.
Below are twenty-five sets of these philosophical premises. The first statement represents a libertarian or individualist view. The second one states the collectivist or progressive position. As we ponder our Election Day ballots, it is perhaps the perfect time for each of us to check our own premises.
1. People own themselves; the basis for private property rights. / People are subjects of the state; all property should be publicly-owned and controlled.
2. Free citizens have a right to be left alone. / Government has both the authority and the duty to track, surveil, and monitor citizens.
3. Democracy is a preferable expedient for decision-making but must be constrained by law. / Democracy is in itself a virtue and should be the routine basis for the establishment of law.
4. People are responsible for themselves and the families they create. / Everyone shares responsibility for everyone else.
5. Government exists to protect individual liberty. / Government exists to promote what duly elected politicians decide to be the public good.
6. Free speech is a fundamental element for an informed democracy. / Hate speech and government-deemed disinformation represent a fundamental threat to democracy.
7. Government has no right to impose involuntary servitude on a sovereign citizen. / Government can require involuntary servitude, such as drafts and vaccination mandates.
8. Disinformation is any false propaganda. / Disinformation is that which contradicts government proclamations or policy, no matter the accuracy.
9. Power corrupts; the federal government should be kept small. / A large centralized federal government is necessary to adequately provide for the welfare of the people and insure national fairness.
10. Dissent is an honored American tradition; the trademark of a free society. / Dissent is a red flag; a possible sign of domestic terrorism.
11. Fairness means equality of opportunity. / Fairness means equality of outcome.
12. Borders define a nation. / Borders are a racist construct.
13. Sex and gender are immutable biological facts. / Sex and gender can be fluid and chosen.
14. Earth is durable and nature is the planet’s most powerful force. / Earth is fragile and human action has become the planet’s most powerful force.
15. Racism is a manifestation of individual ignorance; not mainstream ideology. / America has been, and always will be, a systemically racist nation.
16. Violent criminals are chronic predators that must be locked away to protect society. / Violent offenders routinely deserve another chance.
17. Parents best know the needs of their children. / Teachers best know the needs of children.
18. A good journalist is a good referee. / A good journalist can be the team’s star player.
19. Consumer demand should drive a free market. / Government subsidies, bailouts, tax breaks, tariffs and other market manipulations best serve the interests of the people.
20. All corporate taxes are paid by the consumer. / Corporate taxes come out of investor profits and fat cat salaries.
21. Inflation is when the money supply grows faster than national production. / Inflation happens when corporate greed is allowed to run rampant.
22. Once a life becomes viable, it must be protected. / Once a person is born, life must be protected.
23. The Constitution is the original agreement between the government and the people. It is a contract not subject to arbitrary change. / The Constitution is a living, breathing document that can morph into any understanding a majority of politically-appointed Justices decide.
24. There are no solutions to major problems, only tradeoffs. Our challenge is to select the best one. / The right politicians, coupled with proper funding, can solve any problem.
25. Congress should represent the people. / Congress should lead the people.
These fundamental premises lay the foundation for nearly every political decision before us. We should reflect carefully upon them to insure that those we operate upon are in accord with those we profess.
Was the Iraq War the Biggest Con of the 21st Century?
The Iraq War was spawned by a deadly combination of political depravity and media complicity. Unfortunately, on the twentieth anniversary of the war, both elements of that conspiracy are being whitewashed. Instead, politicians and their pundit accomplices are...