Friday, 09 December 2011

For Whom Should a Liberty-loving Republican Vote?

Written by  Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.

You are a Republican. You consider yourself a “conservative,” maybe even a “Tea Partier.” But whatever you prefer to call yourself, the truth of the matter is that there are some basic facts of contemporary American political life that you detest.

First, the federal government has grown well beyond anything that our Founding Fathers could have envisioned. Today, it has come to assume authority over virtually every aspect of your life.

Inseparable from this first fact is another: You have far less liberty as an American than you should have under the U.S. Constitution. The exponential expansion of the federal government over the decades has been inevitably attended by an equally exponential diminution of liberty.

Third, both major national parties, Republicans and Democrats, “conservatives” and “liberals” alike, in spite of their assurances to the contrary, have continued to feed the Leviathan that is our federal government.

You want change. You want real change. 

More specifically, you want for your elected representatives to finally — finally! — walk in accordance with their talk. You want, in other words, for Republicans to proceed to revoke the Big Government agenda that has dominated American politics for most of the 20th century to the present. You ache for politicians who will fight to restore the constitutional Republic that our Founders bequeathed to us, politicians who will supplement their rhetoric of “limited government” with real action.

As a self-avowed “conservative” or Tea Partier, you have had it with establishment Republicans. You have had it with those prominent figures in your own party who live to convince “independents” and “moderates” that it is “an open tent,” so to speak, a party able and willing to accommodate a rich, even staggering, diversity of viewpoints. It isn’t that you have a problem with intellectual diversity in itself; it is just that you know all too well that the only viewpoints that establishment Republicans are eager to embrace when they speak thus are those that entail an ever larger role for the federal government in our daily activities. 

Establishment Republicans have proven time and time again that they are most certainly not in favor of the “limited” or “constitutional” government to which they routinely pay lip service. With this you are exasperated. But you are just as exhausted with those establishment Republican politicians who never tire of trying to convince you that they are not establishment Republicans. 

Since their crushing losses in ’06 and ’08 Republicans have expressed regret over having “lost their way.” While you are relieved that they have unreservedly conceded their betrayal of the very principles for which they have claimed to stand, you are no less frustrated now than you were while they were in power, for you still don’t know what in the Republican Party agenda has changed.

Now there is another Republican Party presidential primary race. Let’s say that you don’t know the names of any of the contestants. All that you know is the following: Of the seven candidates, all of them, save one, adamantly supports “the War on Terror.” More specifically, they support President George W. Bush’s “Freedom Agenda,” an enterprise that requires the U.S. government to deploy the time, treasure, and blood of its citizens toward the end of “spreading Democracy” throughout the world. It was for the sake of this mission that we have spent the last decade attempting to “fundamentally transform” Iraq and Afghanistan.  

It is also for the purpose of waging “the War on Terror” that all of the candidates, save one, enthusiastically endorse “the Patriot Act;” the nationalization of airport security; and every liberty-imperiling measure ostensibly intended to provide ever greater security for Americans.

In other words, the very same policies that drove legions of American voters into the arms of Democrats in 2006 and 2008 continue to be embraced just as ardently now as they did back then by all of the GOP’s presidential candidates, save one.

Although most of the base of the Republican Party and, truth be told, most Americans oppose “foreign aid,” all of the candidates, save one, supports it. This lone candidate deems it unconstitutional and immoral that American citizens should be made to part with their time, energy, and money to subsidize any foreign governments.

All of the candidates claim to oppose the exorbitant spending in which our federal government engages. Yet none of them, save one, has proposed a substantive plan to address it. That is, none of the candidates, save one, has specified a single program, much less an agency, that he or she is unequivocally committed to eliminating. The exceptional candidate, in stark contrast, has explicitly and unequivocally identified one trillion dollars worth of programs and agencies that he or she would abolish within one year of being elected President.  

Here is the proverbial $64,000 question: As a conservative or Tea Partier who seeks to reduce the federal government to a size and a scope that our Constitution would recognize, who among the seven GOP presidential candidates sounds most inviting?