Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Future of the Left

All the vitriol and hysteria the left directs toward Bush is astonishing when you consider that he is NOT a conservative ideologue. He's not a movement conservative.

George W. Bush is an odd mixture of three Republican factions. He is one part neoconservative, one part religious conservative and one part country club Republican. These three aspects combine to make a man much loathed by the left. His neoconservatism makes him a warrior, which goes against the left's anti-americanism and pacifism. His religious conservatism makes him a man of faith, which goes against the left's secular humanism. His country club Republicanism makes him a man of privilege and anti-intellectuality, which goes against the left's egalitarianism and intellectuality. (Well, the old left used to be intellectual.)

Tragically missing from Bush's character is the most important faction of the right, the free market Republican. It's clear that Bush has no understanding and no love of free market economics. His one free market accomplishment, the tax cut, owes more to Rove's polling than to Bush's reading of Ludwig von Mises. In fact, the idea of Bush trying to read Human Action is amusing.

Other than the tax cut, Bush has actually governed to Bill Clinton's left on economic matters. Spending has exploded under Bush as the Republican Congress never let it do under Clinton. The prescription drug monster is the biggest government welfare program since LBJ. The education bill, steel tariffs -- the bad news goes on and on, more than I can keep track of.

This raises an interesting question. What would the left do if a free market ideologue were elected president? I mean, a man who spent his youth reading Mises and Friedman and maybe even Ayn Rand. (Hey, this is my fantasy. Might as well go all the way.) Someone whose soul was inspired by the ideal of laissez-faire capitalism. Someone who joined the Republican Party because he wanted to change the world and saw that the Democrats were socialists and the Libertarians were anarchists. Someone who actually wanted to do the things the left accuses Bush of wanting to do, who wanted to repeal every law back to the antitrust laws of 1872.

What would the left do? Some would really move to Canada, as so many of them promise to do every time the Republicans win an election. Most would just keep doing what they're doing now, except louder and less rationally, if that's possible.

Most significantly, I do believe, a small minority would begin direct, violent, revolutionary action against the government. This minority would grow in numbers with each successful rollback of the welfare state the left has been building since the Progressive Era.

At some point I think violence from the left is inevitable. Once it becomes clear that ballots work against them, then the left will resort to bullets. You can see the intellectual groundwork for violence at places like Democratic Underground when they rail about how evil the Republicans are and how hopelessly blind the masses are and how the elections are rigged by Diebold. If all these fantasies were true, then patriotic leftists would have no recourse but to take up arms against the evil corporate fascists who have stolen our country.

So far the left is mostly talk, except for a few fringe activists. But as the intelligentsia of 19th century Russia found out, talk has a way of leading to action.