Pond Politics is back

After almost 5 years, I’m back. I find writing my thoughts very therapeutic: it forces me to more deeply consider my beliefs and challenge myself, and if anybody stumbles upon my musings and enjoys reading or challenging them too, great.

Sadly, since the last time I was blogging, my old friend/sparring partner/tea party supporting right wing American, Greg, the is no longer here to challenge me in his special way. I was de-friended by him on Facebook right after Obama won his second term which marked the end of our exchanges. I wasn’t gloating, I promise. Though lengthy, those debates remain on the blog and still make for interesting reading.

Five years is a long time, and since I last blogged about politics I have quit the Liberal Democrats after they tripled tuition fees and joined Labour. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the future of both of these parties. I also created a site bookelections.com which analysed the betting markets to predict what would happen in the 2015 UK General election. I’ll be looking at just how wrong the betting markets and pollsters got it and why, and also look at doing a similar analysis of the upcoming 2016 US Presidential elections where the betting markets typically do far better.

I hope you enjoy reading, any suggestions or thoughts, please leave a comment.

– John

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What do we believe, and why?

In our first article, we attempt to express our political beliefs, and why we hold them.

What do you think? Please feel welcome to post your comments at the bottom.


Why I’m an American Conservative
Greg Carter

During the latter part of the 1700’s, the founders of our country laid out a solid foundation for the effective government of the people of the United States of America. Through the establishment of The Constitution of the United States and the ensuing Bill of Rights, we were given the Freedoms due to all mankind in the pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness.

The Constitution of the United States lays out clear rules:

  • The powers of the FEDERAL government are clearly stated and limited.
  • The founder’s of our country provided the means necessary to alter the plan through amendments to the constitution. The process is, by necessity, cumbersome and specific.

Conservatives recognize and believe in the Constitution. We believe that the founder’s were divinely inspired in their actions and that they established man’s single greatest hope for government here on Earth. We believe the Constitution must be adhered to as it was originally intended or modified as it was prescribed. In the event the people of the United States feel it necessary to add on to, or alter, the Constitution, we believe the prescribed rules are to be followed.

As such, we believe that our FEDERAL government has perpetrated numerous acts that have been unconstitutional or extra-constitutional at a minimum. Our FEDERAL government has overstepped its defined powers and exerted itself on the States, Municipalities and People of the country. Furthermore, at no time should the Courts of the United States create law. Their sole purpose is to interpret the laws that exist and decide/apply them to the case at hand. All too frequently, these changes have been pursued without regard to political party and are functions of the Liberal/Progressive movement. These changes have been slow, but sure, and have worked toward the detriment of our society, its institutions, traditions and values.

Our founder’s were firm believers in a Divine Providence. They recognized this divinity in the form of God. Our county was, in fact, founded on Judeo/Christian principles. These principles allow for and, in reality, demand an adherence to God’s teachings and expectations for our lives. We were founded by people seeking the freedom to worship their God, not by people seeking a way to avoid or admonish the presence of God. They did not seek to establish a national church per se, such as the King’s Church of England. They did however expect the people to be devoted in their beliefs and devoted to God. It is because we are a Christian nation that we allow other religious practices to exist. It is because we are a Christian nation that non-Christian believers are able to freely practice their beliefs, so long as those beliefs do not endanger the lives of other Americans. Religious tolerance is not the same as religious abdication! Despite allowing for other religious beliefs to exist, our founders did not establish a method for abdicating our spiritual foundation.

  • I believe that America offers everyone equal opportunity but not equal outcome.
  • I believe in Freedom
    • The Freedom to Succeed and the Freedom to Fail.
    • The Freedom to choose the course of one’s life without government interference.
  • I believe that the United States was established with the Freedom OF Religion, not the Freedom FROM Religion.
  • I believe that ‘a government that governs least governs best’.
  • I believe that a large, central, FEDERAL government is inherently bad for the citizens
  • I believe that the most effective level of government is that which is local to the people. A government that is available to the citizens with an ease of access.
  • I believe that most issues should not exceed the level of state government.
  • I believe that an organization that is not explicitly Conservative will over time become Liberal.
  • I believe there is only one group of Americans who are ‘owed’ anything from the other citizens and that is the men and women of the United States Military.
  • As a compassionate, God-fearing people, I believe there is only one group of people who should be ‘entitled’ to anything simply by being born American. Those in our society who would perish quickly without the assistance of others due to a lack of cognitive and physical abilities.
  • Our founders knew what they were doing. They were brilliant with their thoughts and exemplary in their actions. They set forth a plan to be followed and preserved, ‘conserved’ if you will.
    • (Conserve: To protect from loss or harm; preserve: calls to conserve our national heritage in the face of bewildering change. The American Heritage Dictionary, 2009)

Thus, to these ends, I am a CONSERVATIVE. I don’t need to hide it. I don’t need to call it by different names during different decades. I don’t need to run from it or pretend it is something other than what it is. A conservative is proud of our heritage and our record as a country.

I believe those who call themselves Liberals/Progressives need to explain what they are progressing away from or progressing toward. They seek to change the fundamentals of our country not through prescribed means but through alternate methods. They use the court system to establish law rather than the legislative process.


Why I’m a Liberal
John Hardy

In Britain, things are different and we do not have a written constitution. I believe, however, that the US constitution is a fantastic document and that the USA couldn’t have been built on better foundations. However the world and our understanding of it has changed inconceivably in the 200+ years since it was written. I do not claim to be an expert on the constitution or those who wrote it, but I believe that many American’s have distorted the founding fathers intentions. As mere human beings, the founding fathers could not possibly have created a document that would be both infallible and eternally relevant. In America the constitution is treated as a holy text by some, and its writers held in such high regard as to almost be religious figures in their own right. Sadly, like the worlds many religions, everybody has their own interpretation of the meaning of the text and the views of its authors.

I do not believe the founding fathers intended the USA to be the ‘Christian nation’ it has become, and believe that some of these figures were actually quite opposed to Christianity. Whatever the beliefs of the founding fathers, I consider them entirely irrelevant in the 21st century. Had the constitution been written in an earlier time with mention of a flat earth, would we now be arguing whether it is unconstitutional to travel ‘around’ the world? Similarly, in 1787 with just 13 states, and a population 97% smaller than the present day, is it important whether the founding fathers favoured big or small government, for example, under circumstances incomparable with today’s world?

Don’t get me wrong, I value and respect the constitution, but think it is important not to let constitutional absolutism suffocate every piece of reform the house attempts to pass.

I believe that everyone is entitled to equal opportunity. Sadly, the world not a fair or equal place, and presently opportunity grossly favours the wealthy while, alarmingly, the gap between rich and poor continues to grow. I believe this is because the political class are from the privileged side of the spectrum and there are many, especially the political right, who are self interested and want to maintain the status quo, an unfair and unequal society.

I believe in freedom, but not at the expense of other people’s freedom. Everybody should be free from interference from other people’s religious beliefs, and the separation of church and state is essential for a society to be fair to everyone.

I believe it is the government’s duty to look after those less fortunate in society. Until everyone is born with the same opportunities, we cannot neglect those who perhaps didn’t receive a good education or enjoy a positive and supportive upbringing. I think government intervention is necessary to prevent a negative spiral of social inequality. It’s easy for the privileged, who have perhaps benefited from more aspiring role models or education to say people need to sort out their own problems, but its mere chance these privileged were not born into less fortunate circumstances themselves. I believe that when a society supports the less fortunate, everyone benefits from the improved social landscape.

I believe that nationalism and religion are divisive; they create an us and them mentality when in reality we are all just human beings who by chance happen to have been born in different places and different cultures.

I am a liberal, you could also call me a progressive. I believe we need to progress towards a world where geographical circumstance does not determine what can be accomplished in life, where everyone in the world identifies each other as human beings rather than enemies, and where everyone is born in a fair society with equal opportunities for all.


More articles to come, in the mean time for a background on John and Greg check out: http://www.pondpolitics.com/2010/05/welcome-to-pond-politics/

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Welcome to Pond Politics!

Greg, a 49-year-old conservative American, and John, a 24-year-old liberal Brit first met in the Summer of 2007.

Both were working at a YMCA Camp in Ohio, Greg ran the camp’s catering and John was working in an international summer camp program. John loved the experience and returned to the camp year round on an extended visa from Summer 2008 to September 2009.

During this time, political discussions began between the two and it soon became clear that both were very much at opposite ends of the political spectrum. John, a liberal, atheist, vegetarian, and Greg, a conservative Christian and right-wing tea party activist, who, with good humoured disapproval, had to provide a vegetarian option each meal for John. While completely disagreeing with each other on pretty much everything, the debates were good natured and a mutual respect and friendship developed between the two.

Thanks to the Internet, despite a giant pond separating the pair geographically, their discussions were able to continue first on Facebook, and now on this co-authored blog, Pond Politics.

There are many blogs offering a conservative or liberal narrative without exposing their readers to other views. We hope that this blog, an unlikely collaboration, will offer an interesting and unique perspective, providing 2 contrasting views for each discussion and inviting the reader to form their own conclusions.

Greg:

“I am a 49 year old father of three. I have a degree in Business Administration and have spent my career in business management. For the past 30 years, I have employed and managed hundreds of people, primarily in the Hospitality and Retail Industries. For a period of 5 years, I owned and operated my own restaurant business.

I have a multiply handicapped daughter, a son who serves in the United States Marine Corps and a son who attends Christian School on line.

My interest in politics began in earnest while I was in college. My first election vote was for President Reagan when he smoked Jimmy Carter in 1980. I have voted in every single election possible since that time and I have never missed a Federal or State election in 30 years.

I am a Conservative Christian and currently a proud supporter of the America Tea Party Movement.”

John:

“I am 24-years old. Since graduating in Business Management and Marketing I have worked for a finance company, but spent much of my time working with kids in the outdoors at a camp in Ohio. I am currently self employed in web development.

I come from a working class home in Rotherham. The town has high unemployment and many social issues caused largely by the decline of the local steel and mining industries. I went to a poorly performing Comprehensive school but have been lucky to benefit from supportive parents and teachers.

I became interested in politics towards the end of University, missing my first opportunity to vote in 2005 though registration issues and apathy. I became a member of and voted for the Liberal Democrat party in 2010, however I also support many policies and principles of the Labour party and always ‘try’ to keep an open mind to new ideas.

I think religion is divisive and should be kept as far away from politics as possible. I believe the government should aim to create a society fair for everybody, and not disproportionately advantage the wealthy.”

So that’s us, we hope you enjoy the blog!

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