Last week, the Republican Party suffered a major defeat, when despite horrible performance and dismal statistics across the board, the Democrats maintained power in both the Executive branch and in the Senate (even gaining some seats.) The party spent millions of dollars, not to mention the money spent by individuals and PACs, and yet essentially nothing changed. In the wake of this defeat, the intellectuals, party leaders, and public figureheads have been scrambling for answers, looking for some explanation as to how the worst president in American history (by the numbers) could have possibly beaten them. It has been suggested that this result was purely demographic, and that there is no hope going forward. Some have said that America is no longer a country that supports freedom, that the GOP must become more Democratic to succeed. As you might suspect, I believe this is totally false. While I have already written on the subject, today something happened that absolutely crystalized my reasoning and made me realize exactly what the root cause of this failure was: Ron Paul gave a speech in congress, and in it, he talked about the two fundamental choices available as to the role of government:
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the RLC.
Liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the aggressive use of force. If one seeks liberty, a precise type of government is needed. To achieve it, more than lip service is required. Two choices are available.The problem with the Republican Party is very simple: for the entirety of my life, they have been pretending to offer government number 1, but in reality, they have given us a whole load of number 2. As a result, we have seen tumultuous times, with financial booms and busts, a major shift toward government dependency, and never-ending international conflicts. People are not stupid, and they can see through this. Even the people who might not explicitly identify this, still have the natural instinct that something doesn’t add up. It all started with Ronal Reagan, who sounded a lot like Ronald Paul when giving his speeches, espousing the merits of freedom and the libertarian soul of conservatism, yet ended up growing the government dramatically. To his credit, Reagan tried to hold the line as much as possible, and he was a great speaker on the merits of liberty, but the end result is still undeniable. Since then, the party has been slowly but surely abandoning its principles, and it’s liberal governing style has been steadily accelerating. George W Bush campaigned on the merits of the free market and non-interventionism, but claimed to be a “compassionate conservative” who supported government forced charity for certain causes. As it turned out, he governed to the left of Bill Clinton, instituting the largest entitlement program ever, taking over control of education from the states, and launching an Orwellian, perpetual war on terror. Now we find ourselves in a state where the Republicans are raising spending by over 10% per year, and fighting to raise our taxes, while doling out special incentives and favors to certain (well lobbied) businesses. We find ourselves defeated nationally after running a presidential candidate who supposedly supported free markets, but also supported a state-level individual mandate, and made the ridiculous assertion that “a free market requires government regulations,” and supported the tyrannical policies of the Democrat incumbent. (Indefinite detention, Internet snooping, Assassinations, etc) Yet somehow, some people think the problem is that Republicans are “too conservative” and not “big-government enough.” How can any rational person hold such a belief, after simply observing recent history? How can any person who isn’t a Democrat think that it would be a good idea to move even farther to the left at this point? The reality is that people are thirsting for a real choice, a real answer. Even people who aren’t politically interested have the feeling that “they’re all a bunch of crooks” and are looking for someone to tell them the truth. This is the opportunity that the Republican party needs to take advantage of: distinguish yourself from the Democrats once and for all. Adopt the message of liberty and work towards achieving the government outlined in option number 1: the defender of individual rights. Stop sending mixed messages by taking inconsistent and hypocritical stances on things like national defense, taxes, prohibition, subsidies, etc. Start working towards real change and real reform in the direction of liberty. The alternative is to fade away into the history books and become largely irrelevant. The reason for this is simple: nobody wants a cheap imitation. We already get enough of number 2 from the Democrats, and so if that is the solution you offer, you’ll never win again. (Image courtesy: ernstl) Update: Video of Full Speech!
Once government gets a limited concession for the use of force to mold people habits and plan the economy, it causes a steady move toward tyrannical government. Only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny to the government this arbitrary use of aggression. There’s no in-between. Sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly.
- A government designed to protect liberty—a natural right—as its sole objective. The people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person’s liberty. Government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownership, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression.
- A government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrarily use force over the people and foreign nations. Though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into an omnipotent political cancer. This is the problem for which the world has suffered throughout the ages. Though meant to be limited it nevertheless is a 100% sacrifice of a principle that would-be-tyrants find irresistible. It is used vigorously—though incrementally and insidiously. Granting power to government officials always proves the adage that: “power corrupts.”
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