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    The Will to Create

    Entries in compromise (20)

    Thursday
    Dec092010

    Republican moderates hooked their wagon to a falling star

    Moderates like David Frum and David Brooks thought they saw a coming transformation of America in 2008, so they dreamed of a Republican Party made up of moderates who could compete for political power in the future. The moderates believed, rightly, that social conservatism was no longer relevant in the political world, that candidates running for office on a platform of establishing moral dominance over a society quickly losing its way in sin and permissiveness would be out of touch with the reality of a society which is actually socially liberal, or, at least, a society that doesn't want morals pushed on them by government. The moderates had other reasons they believed the Republican Party was out of touch: the relationship with Big Business -- the old guard of Country Club Republicans blocking young blood, gay Republicans, women, minorities from full participation -- the image that Republicans ignore the plight of the poor -- the association of Republicans with war and unquestioning patriotism and American exceptionalism which has caused conflicts in the global community -- the fact that Republicans have been viewed as anti-diversity and hostile toward multi-culturalism -- so on and so forth with many legitimate concerns. But, the main problem Republican moderates wanted to solve was the influnce social conservatives have had over the direction of the Party -- moderates wanted to marginalize the social conservatives and all their spokespeople like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levine, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and Glenn Beck, although they haven't quite figured out how to take Beck, so they just call him a crazy hate-monger.

    The moderates soon had another problem -- the Tea Party -- but to the moderates, this was just an outgrowth of social conservativsm, a reactionary movement caused by a black president, changing times, and a fear of diversity and new ideas of governance. Yes, the moderates said, some progressive policies go too far, but we need major changes if we are to deal with out of control healthcare costs, global warming and our dependence on oil, the problem of Wall Street gambling us to the brink of financial collapse -- so Republicans had better stop complaining about "socialists" and birth certificates and bleeding heart liberals and join the government efforts in compromise in order to create a better, more sustainable society which is interdependent with the rest of the world. The moderates warned that Republicans can't afford to sit on the sidelines and just say no. This strategy, the moderates warned, will relegate the Republican Party to minority status for decades, and allow the worst of progressivism to come about. Centrists urged Republican participation in molding the legislation so at least the extreme elements were moderated -- what we would get, hopefully, would be the best of both sides as America is transformed to meet 21st century challenges. Yes, the moderates said, we agree that government has limits, but these are different times, and the emergencies facing our nation can't be ignored or put on hold as partisanship creates obstruction which will be blamed on Republicans and make them look backwards and reactionary, small-minded, clinging to an idealized past of a Christian America that has no relevance in the modern, complicated, cosmopolitan present.

    However, the concerns of the moderates regarding social conservatism never quite materialized, and they misread the resistance to progressivism. Although social conservatives are involved in the obstruction of the progressive agenda, the main thrust was a desire to limit government, cut spending and bring about the creation of a free market. The rising stars in the Republican Party have not been moderates, but more libertarian-minded Republicans like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. A large faction of the Tea Party has requested that the movement concentrate on economic matters, not social issues. In the meanwhile we've watched the EU struggle to bail-out member states teetering on collapse because of long term, welfare-state, progressive policies, just like the policies that progressives in America are pushing to implement, and moderates are calling to compromise with. The moderates have been caught between progressive big-spending, social engineering and the movement to limit government, cut spending and implement a free market. But these types of clear distinctions now bother moderates, and Frum is building a No Label movement. This is little more than a desparate act to avoid clarity.

    The results of the midterm elections, and Obama's recent compromise on the extension of Bush's tax cuts, speak loudly to a change in direction and the failure of the moderate plan to work hand in hand with the progressives to transform America, relying on the calm and reasonable center. This doesn't mean the Republican Party is on the rise and that there will simply be a switchover in power like we've seen for decades - it means that progressives, liberals, moderates and Big Government Republicans have all misread the American public. We are entering a time in which the pressure will be to disempower the State and liberate market forces. The public is pushing for personal soveriegnty and economic growth -- people are tired of government meddling -- tired of the politically connected becoming richer and more powerful off the backs of workers and producers -- tired of Washington DC political animals telling them what they should think and how they should live their lives -- they are tired of government wasting their money, then finding ever more clever ways to tax them. If any group is making itself irrelevant, it's the Republican moderates. I suggest they worry less about strategy, spin and sophisticated, Machiavellian strategy and more about adopting the principles they've denigrated the last two years.

    Friday
    Dec032010

    David Brooks and his ongoing struggle to transform Barack Obama

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/03/opinion/03brooks.html?_r=1&ref=davidbrooks

    Brooks wants so badly for Obama to be the hero he has envisioned, that he continues to create scenarios in which Obama acts in accordance with Brooks' fantasies. In the above article, Brooks envisons Obama proposing a major reform to the tax code and finally cornering those limited government conservatives with their obstructionist principles. Brooks wants compromise and bipartisanship, but so far a good compomise hasn't been found between the Democrats with their progressive agenda and the Republicans who have been forced by a rebelling public to stop the spending, regulation madness, bailouts and stimulus waste. So, Brooks has created a fanatasy compromise that should work -- the only problem is that Obama will have to actually propose reforming the tax code to remove loophoples which will hurt his wealthy backers and lower rates. 

    Thursday
    Dec022010

    Even if Republicans have been hypocritical about government spending

    It doesn't matter at this point who started what or who is worse at what in government -- the two party battle to assign blame for our current problems is beside the point.

    There's a lot of talk in Washington DC right now about the need for bipartisan co-operation, but all this talk is about compromise to enable spending on wasteful government programs and to increase regulations on industry.

    Yes, we need bipartisanship, but not to make government bigger, more powerful and more expensive -- we need bipartisanship to reduce the size and power of government and to free up the market so it can work and businesses can grow and hire. This is the point of my two recent posts about liberals -- if they really aren't hardcore statists like they say, then they'll have to prove it by fighting for a free market --and we can't have a free maket unless government is limited.

    Both parties have to realize our answers lie in the private sector. I've been beating this drum incessantly here, because I believe we're at a turning point and this time in our country's history is a watershed moment. With Europe heading for disaster and with the rest of the world shaky at best, America has an opportunity to learn from the flaws of socialism, in all its different forms, and reverse course.

    It's too bad we don't have leaders who understand the market, the genius of American workers and entrepreneurs and their transformative power. The European anti-capitalist philosophy has brought those countries and America to the realization that something is terribly wrong -- that something wrong is that economic laws have been broken for too long, and delusional spending has finally caught up with the world. The wealth creators have been pillioried and hog-tied by a mountain of regulations -- it's certain to businesses that if something doesn't change, governments will come after them to drain their last bit of wealth. Companies need to know that they are safe within stable rules, and that governments are protecting their rights, not out to steal what they produce.

    Once producers are freed to do what they do, and once people are back to work in good paying jobs, we will again be back in that compfortable place where we can concentrate on other values -- but one thing clear going forward is that these values have to be freely chosen, not forced on us from above. The private sector has to be trusted -- we have to trust ourselves, then take on the responsibility that goes with the freedom and trust. It's the only way out, even if it is a cliche.

    Sunday
    Sep052010

    The moderate plague in the Republican Party

    There is intellectual energy among those who will be voting in the midterms to oust politicians who've forgotten government has limitations. This energy is a fresh relief from the grasping designs of progressivism, the utilitarian capitulation of liberals and the milquetoast opportunism of moderates.

    The Republican Party's recent history doesn't exactly inspire confidence that their return to power will be a charge of revolutionary zeal, but if the faction which has embraced the principles of limited government and a free market can prevent the moderates from successfully peddling their damaged brand of statism-lite, there is hope. Serious times require serious people and serious measures, not an exclusive club of back room compromisers protecting the status quo at the expense of the private sector.

    Change will require inspired men and women with a vision for private enterprise, men and women with fire, not Kobe beef and wine spritzers, in their bellies. We need far-sighted liberators, not compromising deliberators who waffle, wane and whine as the political winds change directions. It's good to think and debate and adjust, but only after you've decided on a direction -- then you can flexibly and intelligently and innovatively find the paths to the broad and open goal of moving forward in freedom.

    We don't need a series of five year plans - we need to immediately release the private sector to work within Constitutional guidelines and the rule of rational law to find the spontaneous order that no group of "enlightened" technocrats can centrally plan in advance.

    This is no time for moderation and watered-down resistance to statism -- it's time for a full rebuke of statism and a passionate defense of free market principles -- a time for charity and responsibility -- a time for energetic achievement and a revival of human flourishing. Our modern cynical malaise is a deadly disease that needs a quick cure.

    Friday
    Oct162009

    Don't hook your wagon to a falling star

    Websites like The League of Ordinary Gentlemen are interesting if you want get an idea what young political thinkers are up to these days. Their claim is to create an eclectic mix of ideas, just working it all out, an anti-ideological group of political thinkers from conservative to libertarian to liberal. In reality it's center, left of center, and left-left of center. Recently, their resident "libertarian", Mark Thompson,  bemoans the lack of wonkishness among conservatives:

    What they are not doing, and largely are not even trying to do, is to drive the GOP agenda.  They are, in effect, content to leave the GOP agenda as little more than “vote no on everything” and tear down whatever the liberals do.

    I can see where wonking is necessary at times, but we're in a dangerous situation where the missing art in government is to know when to wonk and when to stand on principles. It's naive to think the Democrat majority is going to allow Republican influence to substantially change any legislation they propose.

    Actually, to be fair to the Republicans, they have offered alternatives to the progressive onslaught, if you can call it an alternative. The fact is that the Republicans are being ignored by the Democrat majority. The Republicans are being framed as obstructionists, as if this is a bad thing. The implication from the critics is that the Republicans ought to be helping the Democrats craft better legislation. Well, like I said, they have tried, but it fits the left's narrative if the Republicans are seen as rightwing obstructionists with a few good moderates crossing the line to help the cause. 

    Here is an article from the New Majority -- David Frum's effort to work with the system in order to influence the process. Pseudo-intellectuals have historically gotten this wrong -- from Stalin to Hitler to Mussolini to Mao -- but, of course, what's happening in America will pale in comparison to the carnage caused by these madmen -- however, what the broad-thinkers miss is the ideology driving these movements. It's all some form of socialism that inevitably goes awry, because central planning is antithetical to our human nature. People flourish in freedom, having choices, not by central planning and social engineering.

    Anyone who can't see that the current progressive efforts to centrally plan the economy and engineer society to a predetermined end is blind, purposefully or through ignorance. The idealistic stance that progressives are ready and willing to work with conservatives to find win-win compromises for the betterment of all concerned is naive in the extreme. Progressives have no intentions to work with conservatives -- they are bent on marginalizing conservatives and libertarians and sensible liberals so that their agenda can transform the country into an American version of socialism. Progressives temporarily have the power, and the mistaken idea that reasonable people will prevail if they get in their wonk-groove is beyond naive, it's a dangerous capitulation. Reasonable people will prevail if they eliminate all progressive/statist influence from government.

    A lot of writers have a lot to answer for when they continuously promote  a dishonest narrative. I've watched more news shows than I've wanted to watch, and I've seen interview after interview with one Republican or another stating what they think is best for healthcare and the nation, yet the narrative is that Republicans have only opposed the Democrat plans. No, the Republicans have foolishly tried to influence the process, but the system is broken. This has to be a co-ordinated campaign of disinformation, given the fact the narrative is so widespread and consistent. I would expect more free-thinking from young minds like those that pontificate at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen. The New Majority I can understand, being lead by someone entrenched in the D. C. culture.

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