Last week I got a piece of mail from the Utah election department that asked for my new address and any other new information that might be prudent to their records. I took a while to send it back. I had been thinking for a good long time about joining the Republicans. This time, other than the changed address, I put a check beside REPUBLICAN on party affilation. These are the reasons.
It's so very easy to be on the sidelines, cheering or booing, making armchair views about decisions that you had little or no participation in. It's very easy to act like it isn't your fault the country is going to hell. It's very, very easy to stay out of it and simply pray for everything to work out. That, ladies and gentlemen, is something I could no longer do.
I'm not a big fan of our two parties. I think the Democrats are just like they were at the turn of the century. Big money, big power, big ideas with little room for the views for consequences. Such examples are Wilson's War Socialism, the New Deal and the Great Society. Each with noble aspirations and even a tinge of true moral righteousness, but what they did solved little and created more problems. Wilson put the economy under cartels, something FDR did, which created the so-called military-industrial complex. The New Deal prolonged the Depression by scaring investment as well as following Wilson's cartel model of industrial organization. The Great Society, while aiding many in poverty, also brought with it government induced behavior that now effects communities of all races. The Republicans are no better though. Pandering to some very out there religious folk, talking restraint in power while exercising loudly when in power, spending out the ass for programs they claim they don't believe in. The Democrats are statists, they use newspeak and believe in the crazy God-state idealism that has driven so many authoritarians... but at least they tell you they're crazy.
And that's a reason I joined: to fix the GOP. I'm not some fifth-generation Republican like some, nor am I true believer in Sarah Palin or the next big GOP star who may or may not destroy liberalism forever. I'm a libertarian conservative who sees his country going down the wrong path (since the early 1900s, mind you) and wants to change it. Third parties are dead and will be dead for a while due because of GOP/Democrat “bi-partisanship” on campaign finance laws that restrict such parties from ever gaining any power. I joined the GOP because, honestly, I had no other choice if I wanted to jump into the breach. Otherwise, I'd be the loneliest Dem on the planet.
Getting Things Done
If politics here were like politics in my other home of Canada, the Republican Party would probably be split between the fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives. The Democratic Party would probably lose the Blue Dogs to the fiscal conservative party while the center-left and far left would have their own parties. That's five parties, just like Canada had before the merger of the Reform Party and the Progressive Conservatives. Things got done at a very chaotic pace, or not at all. Even with four parties, the three recently defeated opposition parties (all left wing) attempted to bring down the six-week old Conservative Party government.
Things get done through our American uberparties, like it or not. Single payer advocates use the Democratic Party to get their issue out. Religious and traditionalist folks use the GOP. Foreign policy hawks like the GOP. Peaceniks like the Dems. If you want to enrich your union, go Dem. If you want to enrich your small business, go GOP. So on and so on. I think of the parties as a butt load of conflicting and/or cooperating interests stirred around in one giant political pot. And I'd rather star the ball rolling with a current party than spend decades working a third party that'll barely get noticed at all.
Getting Libertarian Conservatism Popular
For most of the 20th century, Republican presidents and Republican congresses have hardly held to their word on things like entitlements, spending, corruption, cutting down decades of old Progressive/new liberal fat off the Constitution. The libertarian wing of the party has been ignored for a very long time and that needs to change if this country is to be pulled off the road of socialist serfdom. Libertarian conservatism, a form of classical liberalism for the new age, is one of the keys to fixing this nation.
Things like Medicare/Medicade need drastic cuts and new, targeted missions. Welfare, while already reformed well, could be even more targeted. Social Security need to be shifted from lump sum money pot backed by government debt and given choice: want your SS in the stock market? Sure! Just want plain interest? Sure! Invest your money your way. Keep it mandatory, it is a good idea, but no longer will young folk's money go to retirees with aplenty of stocks, but it will be THEIR OWN MONEY they retire on. What an idea.
Checks and balances needs to be reintroduced into the political sphere, starting with term limits for Congressmen and Senators. Twelve years is enough to learn the trade and make a impact. The paternalism that comes from long term Senators like Byrd and Hatch, or Congressmen like Pelosi or Murtha, may feel good, but look at what they sponsor despite the feelings of those they represent. Added on to term limits should be the repealing of the 17th amendment. The Senate was never meant to be a second House. It was meant to be a check on the populism of the House by the self-interest of the elite of the state governments (Simon at Stubborn Facts has written of this at length). Two levels of Congress, both popularly elected, has only brought corruption, cross-House/Senate horse trading and horrible laws down upon us. Cleaning up Washington starts by reverting our Congress back to its original form.
Heaped upon checks and balances is the restitution of federalism in as pure form as we can have in our modern age. Rulings like Roe v Wade must go and abortion left up to the states, as it is a social issue and not one of rights, especially rights struck from the air around the heads of pretentious judges. The Commerce Clause may have to be reviewed and added as a new amendment as to narrowly define the reach Congress has over business in America. The current abuse of this clause has caused much damage for American workers and American working rights. The various civil rights amendments, especially the 14th, needs clarification as to rule out racial quotas and other federal racial programs. The 2nd needs to be incorporated, like all other individual rights, or all other individual rights need to be unincorporated. It's a total travesty of constitutional law that every single individual right (including made up ones like abortion) are applied to the states EXCEPT the right to bear arms. Simply put, the states need more social and economic control back as to be able to experiment socially or open up their markets as they please. Such decisions were never meant to be in the hands of Washington.
The reasons above, along with the mini manifesto, are the major reasons I decided to joined the much loathed GOP. I don't expect to change much, but I do expect to be able to honestly say I tried. And that's more than most of the country can boast.
Eugen Joseph Weber, The Hollow Years - At Amazon, Eugen Joseph Weber, *The Hollow Years: France in the 1930s*.
6 hours ago