Monday, October 02, 2006

Why I bash Republicans

Incredibly Fat Man wrote this comment in response to my last post. I thought it deserved a considered reply:

" most people are pretty dumb (look at how many people vote Republican ;-)"

Most people vote anti-democrat (and therefore republican) because they're tired of psudeo-intellectual democrats telling them they're stupid if they feel differently on an issue.

Well, that particular bash was intended to be humorous. For the record, most people who vote Republican are not dumb (although I think many of them are ignorant). In fact, one could make the argument (and I sometimes do) that the Democrats (i.e. the people who actually run the party, not the people who vote for the party) are dumber than the Republicans because they fail to recognize that people vote Republican for reasons other than stupidity. (As you might imagine, this sentiment doesn't go over very well among my Democrat friends. That's one of the reasons I'm feel pretty confident that my position is correct: I seem to offend both sides more or less equally.)

By the way, there's an excellent book about this called The Left Hand of God which I highly recommend.

This elitism is (in my opinion) the reason the democrats keep getting their asses handed to them. Calling folks stupid is a poor way to get them on your side.

That's true. Calling them traitors does seem to work better from a PR point of view.

There, I feel better now. For the record, let me tell you where I stand politically:

1. I believe in small (but not non-existent) government. I think the size and power of the federal government has spiralled wildly out of control and it needs to be seriously reeled in.

2. I believe in fiscal responsibility. We are on a wild spending binge on our children's credit card. It has to stop.

3. I believe in personal freedom. I think people should be able to say what they want, write what they want, think what they want, worship whomever or whatever they want, eat what they want, smoke what they want, marry whom they want.

4. I believe in personal responsibility and accountability. If you choose to smoke and get lung cancer, don't come bitching to me (or the government). No one put a gun to your head and forced you to inhale. You did that to yourself.

5. I believe in free enterprise. The function of government is to provide a level playing field, not to bail out companies or individuals who make poor choices or get unlucky. (I do think that we ought to provide a social safety net, but I think we should do this purely out of self-interest, not as a matter of principle. I think most people don't like seeing their fellow humans living on the street, and the best way to deal with that problem is to make sure everyone has at least one other viable option.)

Except for the marry-whoever-you-want bit I kind of sound like a Republican, don't I? So why do I bash on the Republicans so hard?

It's very simple: if you look at what the Republicans actually do as opposed to what they say they are almost exact opposites. Republicans say they are for small government, but in the last 50 years the government has grown more under Republican administrations than under Democratic ones. They say they are for fiscal responsibility, but the federal budget deficit has grown more under Republican administrations than Democratic ones. (The correlation is quite striking:

Back in the Carter administration the deficit held more or less steady (and this was during an era of rampant inflation). Then during Reagan and Bush I the deficit grew almost monotonically. Then Clinton came into office and the deficit shrank. And we all know what happened after that.

The Republicans say they are for personal freedom, but the fact of the matter is that they want to use the force of government to constrain your life just as much as the Democrats do, they just want to constrain it in different ways. The Democrats want to throw you in jail if you're not politically correct, and the Republicans want to throw you in jail if you want to smoke pot (even medicinally) or have an abortion (even if you've been raped) or burn the flag.

Republicans say they are for personal responsibility. There are so many examples of Republican hypocrisy on this issue that I hardly know where to begin. Well, let's start with the weasel-in-chief who takes no responsibility for 9/11, no responsibility for the mess in Iraq (according to Dubya everything is just hunky-dory and he hasn't made any mistakes). Let's go on to Dennis Hastert, who let a child molestor go unmolested through the halls of Congress. (They didn't do anything about it because they'd be accused of gay-bashing? Oh give me a break. Even if that were true, why should the prospect of a false accusation of gay-bashing stop you from doing what is so clearly the right thing?)

The Republicans say they are for free enterprise, but in fact they are rife with corruption, giving out billions of dollars in no-bid contracts to the vice-president's former company.

And as if that weren't enough, the Republicans say they are patriots, but then they pass laws that undermine the very bedrock that this country is supposed to stand on: the rule of law, Habeus Corpus, separation of powers, judicial review, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, paper and possessions from unreasonable searches and siezures. They say they are for freedom, but it is quite clear that there is an influential faction of the Republican party that believes that the United States was founded not as a secular democracy, but as a Christian theocracy, and wants to return to those halcyon days. George the First once said, "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." He said that despite the fact that the Constitution very clearly states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office" including, one presumes, citizenship. I bash Republicans because they believe in second-class citizenship (or worse) for atheists (that's me), gays (that's many of my friends), people of color, people without means (those are my brothers and sisters). I bash Republicans because they believe that there are witches -- oh, sorry, -- terrorists against whom we can only defend ourselves by giving George Bush the unilateral and unreviewable power to imprison and torture them. I bash Republicans because they want to take us back to the dark ages. I bash Republicans because they want to make me "secure".

I don't want to be secure. I want to be free.

I bash Republicans not because I love the Democrats. I think the Democrats are a bunch of self-important morons who can't see beyond their ivory tower. I bash the Republicans because they are a clear and present danger to the principles enshrined in the Constitution of the United States of America. I bash them because as a citizen of the U.S. I am bound to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

If the Democrats ever control all three branches of government I'll probably be bashing them.


Some Yahoo said...

Now overlay that with the timeline of Republicans taking the house and senate and I agree. Didn't anyone ever tell you that it's Congress that does all the spending?

Well it's true.

It's the Republican Congress that's helped the taxpayer, not Clinton.

John Roylance said...

Great post. DOWN WITH THEM ALL!!!

Ron said...

You, my friend, sound like you'd vote libertarian if the U.S. party actually got its shit together and made a serious run at the office.

I might, but if they were in power I'd probably bash them too :-)

Ron said...

What's wrong with a little compassion?

Nothing. The problem is that there are legitimate disagreements over where compassion ends and enabling self-destructive behavior starts. I think a good general principle for resolving such disagreements is to let the private sector do it. This idea that the government has to take care of everything is really corrosive.

Ron said...

you might be a Libertarian...

Noooooo!!!!!! ;-)

Nick said...

Good article. I, like you, tend to bash both sides quite a bit.

I'm not so convinced by your correlation of the chart and your assertion that Republicans support big government. It seems to me that the chart more indicates that you can cut taxes overnight, but cutting spending is a long-term process, so in the short term, deficits increase not due to an increase in spending, but due to a decrease in income without a decrease in spending.

Terrell said...

Isn't it interesting that everyone on both (all)
sides is discussing (arguing) about government
policy, i.e. what government does (or doesn't do)
about given issues.

Nobody can understand how any rational person
could disagree with them (be honest, aren't you
all thinking that). LOL

Consider this.

A government policy is derived from logical
deduction based on a belief about what is "the
proper role of government".

A belief about the proper role of government is
derived from logical deduction based on a belief
about "what government is (or should be)".

A belief about "what government is" is derived
from logical deduction based on a belief about
"society and what it is (or should be)".

A belief about "society and what it is" is
derived from logical deductions based on a belief
about what is a "human".

A belief about what is a "human" is derived from
logical deductions based on a belief about what
is the ultimate nature of everything, i.e.

I may have left a couple of steps out but you get
the idea.

I'm willing to concede that most people are
rational/logical and the widely different views
about government policy are ultimately due to
widely different (and un-reconcilable) beliefs
about the ultimate nature of everything.

The best presentation of this thinking (in
English and maybe in any language) is “The Myth
of Religious Neutrality” by Dr. Roy A Clouser.
Disclaimer, this is a graduate level text book
not for the faint of heart.

My own beliefs about the ultimate nature of
everything lead me to be incompatible with every
position presented here.

In fact, there is no political party in the U.S.
that believes as I do. (There is a small one in
Canada, one in South Africa (I think), and a
small hand full in Europe.)

There is one political organization in the U.S.
that I agree with. for anyone that is interested.

sistah43 said...

oops, to this blogging thing.

1). The tobacco companies deliberately hid information re: studies about to increase nicotine content specifically to make cigarettes MORE addictive thereby significantly reducing the ability to stop smoking. So in order to assume personal responsibility for your lung cancer, you would have had to know (as the tobacco companies knew) that the cigarettes you were smoking were enhanced to significantly reduce your chances of being able to quit. That is why they lost the law suit. Follow the money trail. After arguing extensively with a friend regarding this issue, I provided this analogy: let's say cell phone usage increased the incidence of brain tumors and a certain percentage of us decided to use cell phones anyway would we be to blame if one company found a way to boost their carrier signal for fewer dropped calls that increased out chances for brain tumors but didn't inform us about this simply so they could increase market share? What's their culpability if there's an increase in brain tumors?

So this leads me to a more generic point re: the differences between republicans and democrats. The notion of assuming personal responsibility in a culture where the odds are stacked against those who don't have the means or ability to fight corporate culture seems grossly unfair. One of my favorite examples is the McDonald's coffee law suit that is often cited as an example of an egregious litigious culture. In that case, the woman got awarded two days worth of McDonald's coffee sales (ie: 2 million dollars) because it turns out that McDonalds was serving their coffee at 180* (at this temp, 3rd degree burns are possible); higher any other competitor because they found that people were more likely to buy their coffee as it would still be warm when they got to work. McDonalds had consulted their legal counsel who indicated that any litigation was likely to be settled for far less than the increased sales they would get by serving their coffee at what was generally acknowledged to be an unreasonably high temperature. Unfortunately, the terms of the settlement included a gag order on all concerned parties. Several years later, the terms came to light but "McDonald's burnt lady justly compensated" didn't read well as a headline, I guess.