YAHOO carries a story from “Reuters” by a Nicholas Wapshott. It is one of those articles that is so wrong on so many levels that one wonders where to begin. Here is the lead off paragraph to set the tone.
“Moderate Republicans cannot fathom what has happened to their party.
Once a happy band of no-nonsense, pro-business conservatives, cautious in everything from money to marriage — including their wary response to the onward march of 1960s liberal social values — they were prepared, within reason, to trim their policies to match the voters’ mood. After all, to achieve anything in government you first have to win elections.”
Wapshott of the Glib & Facile School of Journalism misses the “good ol’ boy” finger-to-the-wind, say-anything, promise-everything party of his woozy memory; a Golden Age of Blue Blooded Northeastern Republicans conning Midwestern Bible-reading simpletons into supporting low corporate taxes in return for Mom, Apple Pie, and family farm subsidies. Wapshott sees both “regressive” groups as body-checking the forward rush to Post-Modern America. “Unfair!” he subliminally whines, they were already labeled and filed under the appropriate headings (Racist, Misogynist, Homophobic, Plutocratic etc. etc.) How dare they engage in Evolution (which must be taught as dogma in the schools!)?
“Republicans puzzled by the rise of dogma and division in their party” begins Nicholas in his empathic embrace of the poor little rich party that was. Somehow the “wary response” to the cultural revolution that broke out in The Sixties has been forgiven, and is no longer dogmatic nor divisive?
After several paragraphs “proving” that “radical conservatives” in the Party have been soundly defeated whether in Primaries or in the General Election citing of course “Mr. Republican” Barry Goldwater, he reluctantly turns towards “the likeable Ronald Reagan, who put a Hollywood gloss on ultra-conservatism. Once in the White House, the former California governor turned out to be more amenable to horse-trading than his obdurate campaign rhetoric suggested.” So in fact Reagan was merely a tepid moderate playing a role as an ultra-conservative principled leader. Hmm, the clever grad of the G & F School of Journalism sure has “unpacked” RR. (Not.)
Now the author cuts to his point. All the above was written to distinguish the past with the current “GOP base, who demand no compromises, no bargaining in Congress, no tax rises, no politics as usual“. To accuse us, The Tea Party “and the libertarian wing” of the GOP as obdurate and unwilling to compromise principle is meant to be damning! But, he is so molded by Newthink that standing on principle, to him, is a ludicrous posture taken by a naif, and not the mark of a serious “player”. Mr. Wapshott seems to enjoy believing that we who identify with the Tea Party are unaware of the role of compromise in the art of politics. This is not so, however.
I have not been aware of any sense of intransigence among the Tea Party or our more libertarian brothers. What the author calls obduracy and intransigence was merely our making recourse to the single branch of Government in our hands. The Left (let us quit the charade, the modern Democratic Party is socialist and authoritarian) controls the White House and the Federal Bureaucracy and the Senate. The Supreme Court has become unmoored from The Constitution and its rulings are not predictable, nor based on any underlying rationale. (The finding that the fine for not purchasing Federally approved health insurance is in actuality not a fine but a tax is in and of itself proof enough!) The only means at hand to halt the steamroller of ObamaCare was seen as the House of Representatives and specifically its power of the purse. The House Republicans who refused to pass a continuing resolution without some relief from the Affordable Care Act were not stamping their feet and holding their breath over a triviality. In fact, in the weeks following the surrender and the passage of the “clean” Continuing Resolution to fund the Government, the roll out of the ObamaCare Program was so chaotic that it seems as many Leftists are seeking to delay the deadline for registering as well as Conservatives. This proves that the House’s motives were serious enough to warrant the exercise of its power to block spending. Thus it paints their decision as pragmatic and not dogmatic!
Next Mr. W goes on to lecture us on the proper role of government in a republic and his take on liberty. “Even before the crash of 2008 and the 2009 fiscal stimulus that ignited the Tea Party, libertarians had begun infiltrating the Republican Party. Their emphasis is a belief that the problem with almost everything is the government — or what everyone else calls the democratic will of the people.” Libertarians infiltrated (like Viet Cong, or Al Qaida?) the GOP. Here is the nub of the article that so irritated me. He equates libertarian ideals with skepticism of governments’ motives and ability. This is a weak definition. Until Journalism Schools began their export of priestly interpreters of the signs of the times most Americans had a healthy distrust of Government. This was the bare minimum of good citizenship. A libertarian of course distrusts government. But what the Journalist fails to recognize is that libertarians trust individual human beings. Or to be more exact, libertarians trust other individuals who are rational agents who legally and morally go about seeking to better themselves. We trust that humans guided by morals and rational self-interest will create self-assembling societies. Notice how the author describes the antithesis of liberty: the democratic will of the people!
As the woman screeched “That man was right!” this man too, is right! The “democratic will of the people” is the false idol created by despots and tyrants since the dawn of time. Elections do not create or diminish rights. Majority-based laws are valid only within the very circumscribed area into which we have delegated some of our personal sovereignty. The Democratic Will of The People has no legitimate business inside my property, with my person. or with my property. If no single individual has the right to take that which is mine, or force me to do that which I loath, then a majority of them have no greater right. Zero times N is zero. They apparently do not cover algebra at the G & F School of Journalism.
Next, he takes a look at the schisms within the Party on wedge issues, i.e. abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, and legalization of marijuana. He discovers large differences on these issues between those who identify themselves as libertarian versus those who would call themselves Tea Party supporters, and asks “So where does this leave moderate Republicans?”
What the author cannot understand is that mature adults can seek common-ground in important matters and agree to disagree on others. Unlike the Democratic Party with its rigid Stalinist conformity and talking points, the Republican Party retains the qualities of individuality. The alleged differences in approach to the above listed wedge issues vanishes when both libertarian and Tea Party republicans look to restore government to its proper place. Both groups dislike the arrogance of government. Many Tea Party folks who stand against Gay Marriage, and other social issues do so because they rightly perceive that special interest groups are using the coercive power of government to change society. The commonality of all but the tepid Chamber of Commerce cadre will stand together to resist the Leftist conceit that the government stands above Society. The Republican essence is that societies have governments but not the reverse: Governments do not have societies!