Sunday, July 01, 2007

When Two Evils Compete

As recent as two years ago I thought the Democrat Party was on a highway to hell. I thought it was about to lose the middle and collapse to nothing but its leftist base. The main reason was the war. Like many Americans, I was appalled by the left’s reaction to 9/11. They did not understand that we were at war, they blamed America for being attacked and they wanted us to do anything and everything except wage war. It seemed to me that all the Republicans had to do to capitalize on the left’s suicidal anti-Americanism was fight the war and defeat the enemy.

The second reason I thought the Dems were about to go the way of the Whigs was that glorious moment in the 1990’s when Bill Clinton, a Democrat President, declared the era of big government over. Socialism had lost its esteem; no one outside of Cuba and North Korea believed in it anymore. All the Republicans had to do to capitalize on this was decrease government spending, lower taxes and begin dismantling the mixed economy.

It turned out that the two things the Republicans needed to do -- defeat the enemy and decrease the government -- were the two things President Bush would not do. His premises made him do the opposite of what he should have done. Compassionate conservatism is the welfare state only worse: the welfare state with religion mixed in. (What genius thought up THAT?) In foreign policy neoconservatism is the idea that America should be a benevolent empire building democracies around the world. Bush ended up increasing the size of government at home and giving up the war abroad to focus on nation building in Iraq.

I no longer believe the Democrat Party is about to implode. Quite the contrary, I have never been so unsure about the future of the Republican Party. They have abandoned everything Barry Goldwater stood for and embraced religion, big government and neoconservative nation building. What is there to keep me voting Republican? Nothing. I look at both parties in horror now. My votes will mostly be calculations on how to achieve gridlock or some situation in which the government will get the least amount done. The best we can hope for is time for the philosophy of Ayn Rand to spread through our culture before we descend into dictatorship. This is the dire situation we are in today. If I believed in the myths of religion I would damn the politicians of both parties to hell for abandoning liberty.

John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira believe demographics favor the Democrats. I didn’t read the whole essay -- it’s quite long -- but I have my doubts about their argument. The only vital, growing ideology right now is religion and that favors the Republicans. Socialism is dead and environmentalism looks more and more like a joke. The Democrats have nothing that people can believe in and fight for. This comes out in their day to day politics, in which they give no reason to vote for them, but instead attack the Republicans as incompetent, corrupt, whatever.

What I see for the near future is both parties being kept alive by the impracticalities and failures of the other party. (And if this doesn’t turn America into a nation of cynics, nothing will.) The death of the Democrat Party that I thought was imminent was forestalled by the titanic failure of the Bush Administration. Power will continue to bounce back and forth between the parties because people are on any given election day more disgusted with and terrified by one party than the other.

People have nothing to vote for in our era, but much to vote against. We live in an age in which evil abounds in politics and good is hard to find. This cannot go on forever. Sooner or later people will get sick of voting for the lesser of two evils. Then perhaps the people will revolt. Or maybe not -- maybe a choice of evils is all the American people deserve.

Tell you what, this is sheer speculation, but I think things will get very interesting in the next 5-15 years. The great thing about politics: it's a show that never ends.

6 comments:

Darleen said...

The quibble I'd have with you is your characterization of both political parties as "evil"

The majority of Dems and Reps are acting in good faith in trying to find policies in the best interests of this nation. I believe dismissing either one out of hand as "evil" is self-defeating, I mean, where do you go in defining "evil" when political disagreement is now on the same plane as jihadists trying to blow up London?

Let's not get into the Leftist tact of "inauthenticating" anyone that doesn't conform to Leftist dogma.

The heartening thing I brought from the recent Amnesty bill brouhaha is that the Senators (a much more elitist body than the House) got a well deserved bloody nose when they not only ignored the voters but actually attempted to say "shut up, we know best for you."

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I'm not as bothered about this as you are maybe because I'm older and less idealistic and don't expect much from government. It is a "necessary evil" after all. I also won't give up trying to bring the GOP back to Goldwater's ideas or those of the Founding secularists.

Excellent post.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

PS I have linked to you.

Myrhaf said...

Darleen and Patrick, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Patrick thanks for the link. Someday I'll get off my ass and make a list of links, and I'll include your page then.

The popular phrase is "voting for the lesser of two evils," which is why I went with the word evil in the title. I admit, it makes the tone of the post a bit shrill.

I don't think our politicians are as bad as Islamic terrorists. There are degrees of evil. And I agree that some are well-intentioned. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say. Altruists ARE following their morality when they force Americans to sacrifice for the collective. Their morality is anti-human and it doesn't work. By being true to their morality they are destroying American liberty and leading us toward dictatorship.

Jim May said...

Darleen:

The road to hell is paved with "good intentions".

In other words, even if we grant that the "majority" is "acting in good faith to find policies in the best interests of this nation", the fact remains that the actual policies being enacted are not so!

I don't care how sincerely you want to make ice cream, if your ingredients are saltpeter, charcoal and sulfer, you will get gunpowder (and a nice explosion) no matter what your sincere-as-all-get-out *desire* was.

Now suppose that after each explosion, they keep saying that the problem isn't in the idea of sulfur ice cream at all -- no, we just have to change the ingredient ratios and use a different technique. Just because these ingredients have always blown up in the past, doesn't mean they will in the future. Just because they have blown up everywhere they've been tried, doesn't mean that they will blow up here.

You'd call such a person bloody well bonkers, wouldn't you?

And you'd still hold them responsible for the disasters they create, right?

Well, guess what? It's time to do just that -- hold the purveyors of "sulfur ice cream" -- i.e. anyone whose response to any problem is "There ought to be a law" -- responsible for knowing what they are doing!!!

How many explosions have to happen before we hold people responsible for the smoking holes all over history?

I say we start now. The gunpowder is government power, and there is no excuse -- none -- for believing that anything other than explosions and devastation will result.

We have to start holding people responsible for their politics. If their politics objectively lead to explosive results, they are responsible for the fact and for knowing it -- regardless of sincerity of "good intention".

In the court of reality, "But I didn't mean THIS!" is no defense.

Tom Rowland said...

I could not agree more with Jim May. I would only ad that your most recent post on Talk Radio is related to this one in that our identification of the two sides as evil does not represent the views of the listeners to talk radio. For them, the right wing is presenting the only moral alternative to the nihilistic, valuless left (which they identify with secularism) that has any standing--religion. That is the danger of the right as it is now.