Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Actions Fall Short of Words

I came across the following article in which an self-proclaimed "old Republican" laments the party abandoning him by pursuing too conservative an agenda. (He must  see a GOP that I do not. Contrarily, I lament a party that has left me because it refuses to be conservative.) The author has some legitimate concerns, but for the most part, I believe his argument fails to hold water. He looks back to the Rockefeller Republicanism of the past that has long been cast to the fray--at least in open speech. Of course, the liberals never left, but the Reagan coalition put an end to much of their influence. But that is beside my point.

My point is not to challenge this man for his Republicanism. Rather, I would like to draw on the fallacy found in his opening paragraph.  
I am an old Republican. I am religious, yet not a fanatic. I am a free-marketer; yet, I believe in the role of the government as a fair evenhanded referee. I am socially conservative; yet, I believe that my lesbian niece and my gay grandchild should have the full protection of the law and live as free Americans enjoying every aspect of our society with no prejudices and/or restrictions. Nowadays, my political and socio-economic profile would make me a Marxist, not a Republican.
Truly, I doubt he would be considered a Marxist. Rather, I think he would be considered for party leadership. Remember, it was Bush not Obama who abandoned free market principles in order to save the free market.

The author claims, "I am a free-marketer; yet, I believe in the role of the government as a fair evenhanded referee." Well,sir, you are not a free-marketer!

This type of statement is so flawed. It is like saying, "I'm no murderer, but I do murder people."

If one believes in market intervention, one cannot be committed to free markets. Such betrays the term "free market." (Moreover, it must be added that if he expects the government to fair and evenhanded in anything, he will always be found wanting.)

It is time that we hold people accountable for what they label themselves. If you claim to be a conservative, just be conservative. If you claim to be a libertarian, just be libertarian. If you claim to be a modern liberal, just hate America. (I jest, of course...sorta.)

Many problems in politics stem from people not holding to consistent worldviews and positions. People assume that everything should conform to them and their view of reality, but that cannot be the case. I cannot call myself a black American and expect people to accept my white tail as such. So why can I call myself a free marketer and not hold to free market economics? Likewise, I cannot expect free market economics to conform to my meaning. I am limited to its meaning, not the other way around.

When people make statements like this or betray what they claim to be, we must hold them accountable. We must correct the error. Lack of doing so has left us with a government full of "conservatives" but little conservative governance, an anti-war president who escalates the wars in the Middle East, and "supreme law of the land" that is disregarded at every turn.

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