Sunday, April 10, 2016

GOP Should Not Let the Left Set the Agenda

Donald Trump has certainly roiled the political waters for the Republican Party. Many believe, including myself, that Trump is the reaping what the pragmatist-oriented GOP itself has sown—and that the most likely result of the Trump phenomenon will be an implosion of the party.

The question is, what kind of rebirth will rise from the ashes? In the hopes of Tom Moran of the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Trump starting a civil war in the Republican Party will end up with good little me-to conservatives in charge of the party.

Here are my comments in response to Moran’s two most relevant points:

“The core problem for Republicans is that this brand of vulgar nationalism is selling in their party.”

This is interesting on two counts.

First, Hillary Clinton is in the fight of her life against the Democrats’ own brand of “vulgar nationalism,” in the person of the national socialist Bernie Sanders.

Second, it’s unclear how many actual Republicans and/or conservatives support Trump, given the corruption of open primaries, in which non-party members can cast primary votes. As of now, at least 20 states feature open primaries. Trump brags he’s getting a lot of Democrat voters, and that’s probably true. Given Trump’s similarity to Sanders’ nationalist authoritarianism, Trump appears to be drawing his support from the same statist, nationalist base as Sanders.

“So what kind of conservatism will emerge next? Our hope is that the Trump disaster prompts an overdue soul-searching by the many conservatives of good will, one that will yield new approaches to big challenges. What is the conservative way to achieve greater economic justice, to contain climate change, and to fight terrorism in ways that avoid Mideast quagmires and respect basic civil liberties?. . . A good debate would be healthy.”

So the “hope” is for the GOP to become a me-too lapdog of the Democrats. Once the GOP completely caves in and let’s the statist Left set the agenda, what’s left to debate (no pun intended!)? Sounds like one-party rule.

I abandoned the Republican Party in favor of Independent status a decade ago, amidst the Leftist reign of G.W. Bush. What would draw me back into the GOP column? What’s needed is a Republican Party that celebrates economic success and achievement to counter the Democrats’ nihilistic anti-inequality alarmism, and that promotes job growth rather than outlaws more and more jobs (economic freedom over economic “justice”); that champions reliable energy production liberation over “fighting climate change” with unreliable “green” energy; that will call the enemy by it’s proper identification, Imperialist Islamic totalitarianism, and then fight to crush it under policies of national self-interest.

But the GOP must do one more thing: Shed itself of the shackles of the social and religious conservatives, and become the party of individual rights in personal morals to go with it economic freedom agenda. A party that rejects both the economic authorianism of the” liberals” and the social authoritarianism of the conservatives—a GOP of both economic and social liberty would be my party. A party of individualism and individual rights versus the party of collectivism and individual subordination to the state—a real alternative. Now that would be a debate!

Related Reading:

My Challenge To the GOP: A Philosophical Contract With America


Mike Kevitt said...

The new GOP, as you describe it, that would draw you back wouldn't be conservative or far rightist any more than liberal, progressive, socialist, fascist, Nazi, leftist, communist, collectivist, statist, theocratic, etc. It wouldn't be on that spectrum. It would be fundamentally radically different. It would be a stand alone, freestanding entity, not part of any spectrum nor forming any spectrum.

That GOP would view that spectrum of conservatives, communists, etc. as the spectrum of crime by criminal plan, of initiatory physical force that it is. That GOP would see itself as the entity of individual rights derived from reality, reason and egoism.

That's very fundamentally radically different from today's mainstream statist spectrum. It entails seeing today's mainstream culture as a culture of crime and criminal plan and intent, but it still entails being optimistic about what can be done about it.

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

In philosohy, you stand uncompromisingly behind your principles. In politics, you employ your principles to forge compromises that move the ball toward your goalpost.

What I'd look for is a party with enough explicit laissez-faire capitalist principles to work with as an educational base, not a pure laissez-faire party. It would have enough good policies in its platform to highlight, even as we point out the flaws and inconsistencies. We need a party that has a real chance to reverse the trend, not bring about an overnight transformation to radical capitalism. That's about all we can hope for at this time.