Nothing makes me sicker than the obscurantist efforts of Centrists who tell us we need to drop political labels and vote for representatives who will compromise and work together to get things done. Our biggest problem is that statists in both parties have worked together for decades to maintain the status quo that has finally suppressed economic growth long term and is drowning the country in debt. Our problem now is not that Republicans and Democrats are refusing to meld together in a symphony of beautiful, harmonic legislation -- it's that both sides need to limit government power.
Our political problem is complex. Underneath the status quo, which, in large part, is made up banal statists who love power more than anything, there's a battle raging between Conservatives and Liberals that is basically over social/cultural issues. Somewhere along the line, the social issues became politicized, and I don't know who's at fault, Social Conservatives or meddling, do-good Liberals. Going back to the statists in government, although many are banal power-mongers, there is also an influential Progressive presence that wishes to use interventionist government to transform America into a socialist-type country. I use the word socialist because it's still a good word, although it's loaded with images of the old Soviet Union. The new socialism is more like the European Democratic Socialism. There's a global element to the new socialism, in that there's a Progressive push to manage global affairs to achieve environmental justice, gender justice, social justice, and so forth.
This new socialism will not fare any better than the old socialism. We're dealing with consequences presently that will only get worse if Americans don't gain control of their government. To make this crystal clear, I don't see much difference between the results of Bush's presidency and Obama's presidency, except that Obama is doubling down on expansion of State power. I believe that Bush was more understanding when it came to economic freedom, but he eventually violated the principles of economic freedom in a statist effort to "save" economic freedom. We didn't have economic liberty to start with, so this makes Bush's talk just that, talk. Obama is more of a bonafide Progressive than Bush, but Progressivism infected our government with statism around the time of Woodrow Wilson and it's sickened the nation since, under Republican control and Democratic Party control. Nixon hammered the nails in the coffin first built by Wilson to lay economic freedom to rest. Now, Progressivism is literally killing the nation.
In order to avoid national collapse, like Britain before us and Rome way before them, to name a few popular examples, Liberals and Conservatives both have to realize that the battle in the political realm must end, and any social and cultural differences must be dealt with in the free market of ideas. But how do Liberals and Conservatives come together to put proper limits on government power, and to allow the development of a free market? Are Liberals really so far gone they agree with Progressives that free markets must remain dead, not to be revived under any circumstances? Have Liberals drugged their consciences when it comes to foreign interventions and drone killings? Have Conservatives and Liberals forgotten their non-interventionist heritage as Americans?
Conservatives are just as guilty as Liberals when it comes to giving into Progressivism on the issue of the welfare/warfare State. Progressives have convinced Americans, even if most Americans might not realize the origination of the ideas due to the nature of our State-run education, that a powerful State is necessary to educate the poor and middle class, to protect the powerless citizens of foreign nations who are abused by power, to provide assistance to the needy, unfortunate and handicapped, to manage the money supply in order to avoid domination by wealthy private interests, to regulate the economy so that monopolists don't rule and set their own prices and destroy the environment in the process, to give advantages to unions so that powerful corporations don't run roughshod over workers, to provide health coverage and treatment so that profit seekers don't drain the people of their money when they get sick, on and on to control all areas of our lives. All these justifications for a powerful, controlling State appear reasonable until you learn the history of domination and freedom. When you begin looking at private sector means to deal with these issues, you begin to realize there are ways to avoid the anti-social takeover of the State.
Conservatives at least verbalize a desire to limit the power of government, and Liberals should know better, but once Progressive ideology sold the nation on the vital need for the State to provide welfare, generations have accepted this as truth, and once Wilson led the nation to a world war, followed by a bigger war under FDR, Americans have been sold on the military/industrial complex, but it hasn't always been this way, and it doesn't have to be this way now. How do we end the war between Conservatives and Liberals in a real way, and not just some Centrist attempt to join opposites, preach pragmatism, and call it a day? Both sides, first, need to realize that they are equally responsible for our present statist system, and even if one side has pressed for statism more than the other, it's not enough to give that side justified righteousness.
I don't know which side will have the harder time accepting a political truce, Liberals or Conservatives. It only has to be a political truce, if both sides realize that the political realm is for protecting rights. As a classical liberal, I can't fathom why either Conservatives or Liberals believe our current statist system is the appropriate avenue to make changes in society and to assist the needy in society. What change is lasting that is forced on others through legislation -- what moral act is really moral if it's not a voluntary act? Why have Conservatives and Liberals become so cynical they've lost trust in our ability to work together to solve social problems and create an open, enriching, diverse culture? Would Jesus lobby government to make laws forcing people to behave the way he wants them to behave? I seriously doubt it. He would likely try to persuade, then give people the freedom to decide their moral code. He would most likely agree only with the laws that prevent coercion. Why have Liberals adopted the way of government to generate the changes they think are best? When did Liberals become manipulators and masters of other people, controlling their economic choices?
I think Liberals and Conservatives can make a political truce long enough to stop Progressivism from destroying the nation. Once government is properly limited and we're on the road to growth, peace and prosperity, Liberals and Conservatives will have more time and money to debate the social and cultural issues of our time on bigger and bigger stages.