Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Republicans As Statists

Republicans As Statists

Statism may be too strong a term, so far, but there are ominous portents of a statist future for the Republican party. As Lord Acton warned repeatedly, the greater power a man or a group accretes to itself, the greater will become the use, and abuse, of that power. Today's Republican party, and President Bush, are a living embodiment of that idea, as they seek to award new entitlements and protections to the electorate in pursuit of the expansion of their incumbency and their sinecure.

I am an old style reactionary conservative, a Lincoln republican, with strong libertarian leanings. As late as Nixon's Vice presidency where, in his "Checkers" speech, he declaimed that his wife wore "a respectable Republican cloth coat," the Republicans were the party of the working man, and Republicans were the party that sought to create a smaller and less ambitious government. But today, what with the democrats retreating into the arms of an ever smaller coterie of elitists and leftists, the republicans have become emboldened to seek to extend their power into areas never before considered, and to serve their natural constituency less, as they turn to good old single interest politics. Their "big tent" has become more of a tent city, with the social conservatives, the neocons, and the libcons dwelling in their separate quarters in the republican campsite.

This phenomenon takes on a sinister meaning when we contemplate the inevitability of its continuing nature. Absent some major political cataclysm, the power of the national republicans shall grow in the years to come. Indeed, even if the democrats were not bent upon self-destruction, just the mechanics of electoral incumbency would not allow the left to take over the Senate for a decade. In the House, a sea change in political opinion would still not allow for a change in leadership for four years. And there is no chance of a democrat attaining the White House unless and until the war against us is over, or at least until the electorate feels safe from terror. And, just in case such a change in attitudes were possible, the national democrat party seems intent on making the public feel even less safe, showing no sign of a willingness to reverse course on that item any time soon.

So we find ourselves spiralling into the abyss, with a statist republican party "saving" us from an even more sinister leftism, and no end to it in view any time soon. It might be enough to induce one to consider suspending his blogging, in frustration at the futility of the debate, of the inability of an increasingly small minority in the middle to attract supporters from either side to come to their senses. As those on the right become more and more righteous, and those on the left more shrill and even more divorced from reality, one might consider leaving the debate.

But no. Now is not the time to withdraw from the ebb and flow of ideas. Not the time to retire. It is the time to reinvigorate, reenergize, and double, even treble one's efforts. There are those who have been satisfied to see the lethargy in this space of late, and have speculated that this site might go dark. Banish the thought. Expect the opposite. More, not less. More often. Verbose. Informed. Opinionated. Frequent. Right.