An Antiquated And Failed Political Philosophy

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, it may seem that the Republican party has adopted a different belief than it had held during the immediate post Second World War period. Now, many Republicans are following the beliefs espoused by the Libertarian Party and it has now become mainstream in the Republican party.

The Libertarian Party and philosophy of governing is one that Thomas Jefferson believed in back in the late 18th century with more power invested in the states and a weaker federal government that directed foreign policy and managed the treasury. However, when Jefferson became President and saw an opportunity to double the size of the nation, he didn’t want to bother with the long-drawn-out task of consulting congress first.

That opportunity was when Napoleon, desperately needing money to finance his wars, offered to sell the entire Louisiana territory for $15 million dollars, roughly a few cents per acre of land that included some of the best agricultural land in the world. With one stroke of a pen, the size of the United States was more then doubled. I doubted if anyone really opposed that land deal.

One key part of the Libertarian philosophy is a more isolationist belief in foreign policy. While I strongly believe that the United States cannot be the world’s police force and that we should not be meddling in foreign countries governments; we cannot retreat into isolationism. After the First World War, the country was tired of war and the problems of Europe and became isolationist. The rise of Hitler and the re-arming of Germany was going on across the ocean and not our concern. That was the prevailing belief. But on December 7, 1941, that isolationism died quickly.

Since the end of the Second World War, the United States has been a world leader in many areas and especially in the United Nations. In 1949, in response to Soviet expansion in eastern Europe, the United States formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as a mutual defense pact among European democracies. The key part of this alliance is that an attack on one member is an attack on all members.

The Libertarian belief is that NATO is a cold war relic and that the other European nations have not been paying their “fair share” of the costs of the alliance. But the United States economy is almost as large as the sum of all other European members of NATO. Easily the United States is the most populous member of NATO. But, if anything, the recent attack by Russia on Ukraine shows that NATO is just as relevant now as it was when it was created in 1949.

However, one belief of Libertarians is the belief in a “government so small that it can be drowned in a bathtub.” That, my friends, is dead wrong. The era of a “small government” ended long ago, when the United States became a nation spanning a continent and more. That may have happened on that date 220 years ago when President Jefferson jumped at the opportunity to purchase the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million dollars. Suddenly the United States became a nation that almost spanned the continent.

It required a large standing army to defend such a vast territory as well as protect settlers. Then later, President Theodore Roosevelt saw the need for the United States to have a much larger Navy to protect the interests of the nation. Theodore Roosevelt built up the Navy and sent the “great white fleet” around the world to let the world know that the United States had become a world power among nations.

Perhaps the final nails in the coffin of a “small government” ended during the administration of Franklin D Roosevelt. His policies during the Great Depression established the belief that the government had a duty to help the people affected by the Great Depression. Perhaps one act of congress exemplified this the most is the Social Security Act of 1935 that not only established the social security program for retirees, widows and children but also established the system of unemployment insurance and the federal welfare system that still exists to this day. Thirty years later President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” effort gave us the food stamp program, Medicare and Medicaid as well as federal aid to education.

The United States has come a long way from that idea of a “small government” from Thomas Jefferson’s day. We cannot become isolated in the world because in the 21st century, there is a global economy where every nation is interdependent on each other. The United States cannot withdraw into some simplistic version of the past that actually never existed.

Lee Kamps

Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 10:45 AM, 08.01.2023