I recently posted a blog addressing the corrupt operating principle of modern liberalism. Because it is entirely policy driven and has no regard for constitutional rule of law, the democratic process, or the truth, modern liberalism is bankrupt of any motivating principles other than expediency. Its approach to governance and the consolidation of power is tyrannical because it seeks to impose its policies and obtain the political power necessary to do so by whatever means possible.
Unfortunately for us all, modern liberalism is the motive political power behind the national Democrat Party. As a result, the only current competitive alternative for constitutionalists to find a national voice is the Republican Party. While the Republican Party is certainly not immune to criticism for growing the Federal government, it typically has a less broad policy agenda and is generally somewhat more committed to maintaining some fidelity to our constitutional process. On balance, though the mainstream Republican Party is unquestionably to a large degree statist in its governing philosophy, its policy positions are usually less offensive to constitutionalists and government minimalists than those of modern liberalism. However, being not as bad as the Democrats is hardly sufficient. Constitutionalists need a national voice that boldly articulates and defends adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law as the only true entitlements we have as American citizens. The national Republican Party is not fulfilling that role.
The unfortunate hallmark of the national Republican Party has been its unwillingness to deconstruct the artifices of modern liberalism once established. In fact, once modern liberals succeed in establishing in the Federal government a more expansive role in governing some aspect of society, Republican officials often seem as eager to exercise the new power as are their modern liberal counterparts. As a current example, consider how many Republicans running for office advocate repealing the Affordable Care Act. Repeal of the ACA is simply not a primary campaign issue in this year’s mid-term elections. At most, we hear establishment Republicans speak of “fixing” the ACA. This, despite the fact that most say they believe the ACA is unconstitutional and despite polling that demonstrates the American people have never supported it.
The standard operating procedure of the Republican establishment seems to be to make a passable showing of opposing most modern liberal policy advancements for a time, but only for a time. At some point, whether after losing a key vote, after losing a court battle, or after simply growing weary of the battle, the Republican establishment stops fighting, cedes the issue and then rushes in to exercise the new power as quickly as possible. The political argument all too often becomes, “we can wield this power better than the Democrats”, rather than “we recognize that this power is misplaced in the Federal government and is destructive of liberty. We will therefor continue to fight it as long as there is any viable possibility of defeating it.”
As a result, it is difficult to ascertain the motivating principles of the Republican establishment today. Though they often speak of freer markets, decreased regulation and returning to the founding principles, their actions more often reflect a disposition to conciliation and compromise. When, in a two party system, one party is motivated by conciliation and compromise while the other is motivated only by expediency, one outcome alone can result—policy will trend toward the objectives set by the party of expediency. How quickly public policy will trend left is dependent upon many factors. But regardless of timing, it should be clear that where one party has specific objectives and is willing to do virtually anything to achieve them and the other mostly operates from a position of compromise, the party of expedience will achieve its objectives over some period of time. As a result, we have seen throughout recent American history since the advent of the progressive movement and particularly since the New Deal, a continuous move toward bigger and bigger Federal government with more and more authority over all aspects of society. The few interruptions in our march to ever bigger government have been short lived. For the most part, we’ve had two parties working together in the interests of “getting things done” or “in the spirit of compromise”, to push the U.S. to ever higher degrees of statism for many decades. While we might debate whether the Republican Party wittingly or unwittingly played its part in this process, that it has played its part is not subject to serious debate.
What we have to show for our ever expanding Federal government is not pretty – a liberty stifling regulatory system, $18T in debt and growing fast, more dependency and a quickly deplenishing spirit of individuality and personal responsibility. With this expansion our Federal government has become nonresponsive, even uninterested in the opinions of the people and more focused on protecting its power and in growing even further the scope its authority. At a time when the people desperately need political leadership persuading us toward individual liberty and away from statism, what we have instead are two parties leading us to oblivion. The Democrats urge “full speed ahead” while the Republicans argue for a nice steady cruise control. They both have us headed for a cliff. They only differ in how quickly they’ll have us plunging over the edge.
If the Republican Party is to be the vehicle of our national salvation, it will have to change. Clearly, it will not change from the top down. The vast majority of the leadership of the Republican Party shows little interest in expanding freedom, little interest in shrinking government and absolutely no interest whatsoever in addressing the government debt that is sure to be our ruin. One need only consider the disdain establishment Republicans show for the Tea Party to see the truth of the matter. The national Republican Party is ambivalent about the debt until challenged politically. Once challenged by true fiscal conservatives, they become fierce in the defense of their power. Their ambivalence turns to scorn as they work to vilify their challengers. By implication, they dismiss or even mock Tea Party concerns over the debt.
If the Republican Party is to be the vehicle of our national salvation, it will change from the grass roots up. The Tea Party and others committed to fiscal responsibility and individual liberty will be the organizing and motivating factors. The Republican Party will have to shed its decades long mode of operation. Opponents have pejoratively called it “the party of ‘no’”. We need for it to truly become the party of “NO” and enthusiastically embrace that role. No more compromise toward economic ruin. No more expanding power and spending in the spirit of “getting things done”. No more spending growth. No more government growth. No more fostering dependency. No more political cowardice in the face of the left’s ridiculous allegations meant only to induce the division inherent in identity politics. We desperately need a new Republican Party led by constitutionalists who believe in liberty, free markets and limited government, who are proud to defend those principles and who are capable and willing to persuade their constituents and their colleagues to their point of view. This can only happen if it originates from the base. Constitutionalists have to stop hoping for better leadership and start working towards it.