GOP Suicide Mission

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell warned that Republicans ignore social issues at their peril in the upcoming November election, maintaining that the nation’s only path to a robust economy is an adherence to a strong moral code and the traditional family.

Blackwell, a senior fellow for family empowerment at the Family Research Council and a visiting professor of law at Liberty University, asserted during an appearance at the recent Right on Crime conference that the re-embrace of the “nuclear family” – married mother and father and children – will lead to recovery.

“Throughout history, in order for totalitarianism, Marxism or a welfare state to occur two things have to happen – the marginalization of the church and the destruction of the family,” Blackwell said. “When the state becomes the provider we have a muscular state that negatively affects those things.” [source: 5/27/14]

This is the attitude killing the Republican Party. And it should.

Republicans like Ken Blackwell seek to battle Marxism, socialism and Big Government. They seek to do so through a code of morality. I agree.

But what should that code of morality be?

Blackwell’s answer, like other social conservatives in the Republican Party, is: tradition, family and church.

Tradition, family and church do not build gigantic economies or great civilizations. Innovative and independent thinkers do. Some individuals possess unusually high levels of ambition, motivation and ability. It’s for precisely this reason that societies must be left free, with no constraints on individuals whatsoever — aside from the obvious limitations on criminal force or fraud.

Some successful or accomplished individuals will point out that they could not have done it without their family, their church or whatever their support system happened to be. But it doesn’t change the fact that the person who accomplished something did so him- or herself. Nobody else did their thinking or work for them.

Tradition or family can be a hindrance as much as a force for good. Entrepreneurs and innovators, by definition, flout existing rules and ways of doing things in favor of something new. When it works, we cheer them. But it doesn’t mean they weren’t challenged, questioned or even persecuted in the process. They’re always called selfish, something automatically assumed morally bad by almost everyone. Ever heard of Galileo? Christopher Columbus? What if tradition, family and/or church conflict with the needs, wants, aspirations or rights of the individual? No doubt the social conservatives will answer: Well, that’s selfish. That’s wrong. Unless it isn’t.

And there you have it. Social conservative Republicans are on the same “moral team” as leftist Democrats. True, they don’t agree on some of the specifics such as gay marriage or abortion. But on a fundamental approach to morality they do agree: Self-interest and individualism are out; sacrifice of the individual is imperative. From there it’s only a matter of specifics. Gay marriage and abortion, while significant, are marginal issues compared to the big ticket item of what government may or may not do to the individual.

Note that the only things Republicans and Democrats truly fight about are homosexuality and abortion. This is why the welfare-entitlement state only grows and grows, even when Republicans control half of Congress, and even when Republicans controlled the entire government during most of the Bush years.

It’s not just politics. It’s morality.

Republicans like Ken Blackwell are essentially saying, “Marriage between a man and a woman only; no abortions. This is what really animates us.” Someone like me, who cares about individualism and individual rights, will fight this brand of Republican with every bit as much fervor as an Obama or Hillary socialist Democrat.

Society is changing. More and more people simply don’t care if gays get married. While some still see this as a threat to the Republic, probably just as many do not. The numbers are not with social conservatives on this issue, and time is not on their side, either. As for abortion, that will probably always remain a hot moral (and therefore political) issue. Nevertheless, a new study is showing that fewer younger people are having abortions than ever before. [see: New York Times 2/3/14, “What’s Behind the Declining Abortion Rate?”] Most want abortion legal, even though most prefer not to have one. These are not winning issues for Republicans. If they continue to fixate on them, they will continue to marginalize themselves even more than they already have.

Where it really counts, Republicans differ little from Democrats. They refuse to come out in defense of the individual’s right to live for his or her own sake.

We need a party to argue unequivocally that life is an end in itself, and yes this is selfish, and yes that’s actually a good thing. When people act with rational self-interest they also act with self-responsibility and they tend to maximize their productivity along with their wealth. This is good for society and it’s representative of a society always in growth and forward motion.

Freedom works, and it’s people’s birthright — their only birthright. Freedom is generated by the motivation, attitudes and actions of self-interested individuals. “Republicrat” welfare-regulatory-entitlement policies are systematically and incrementally destroying the vibrancy of our economy and the competence of our civilization. Republicans don’t have a moral leg to stand on when they can only reply, “Self-interest is bad, but we still don’t need all that government.” Why not? If self-interest must be marginalized or extinguished, you absolutely need a strong and activist government to ensure that people don’t act on their allegedly baser interests. That’s what Democrats are giving us. Republicans huddle in the corner, whine and complain, never taking a single courageous step to defend the morality of individualism against the holiness of the collective proposed by their opponents.

It may be true that Marxist and other authoritarian governments have persecuted religious people. But it does not follow that politicians must champion religion and tradition for their own sake. This is the job of ministers, preachers and others who wish to advance these ideas. It’s not the function of government. Religiously based dictatorships are every bit as hard on secular people as secular dictatorships are on religious people.

In fact, the secular left might be called the religious left. They seek to impose their secular ethical system of brother’s keeperism on the population, by force if necessary. In the extreme version that’s Marxism. We’re not there yet, but we’ve been inching our way there for about a century now, and under Obama it has merely accelerated. The more likely outcome in America is fascism, where private property is nominal and government runs just about everything from behind the scenes. Essentially, that’s what we’re getting now. I call it: rich man’s socialism.

You can’t decry or ignore individualism and expect to provide the moral base for a free society.

Go ahead, GOP, and make your stale old arguments. They’ll get you nowhere.

  • writeby

    Theocrats to the Right, Fascists to the Left. Let’s look for freedom in…the middle.

    The Republicans (what passes for the Right) have–with the exception of slavery–never stood for genuine freedom.

    Note (and these are just a few of the highlights) the Republicans heartily endorsed the Interstate Commerce Act and it’s resulting Interstate Commerce Commission.

    It was a Republican who first proposed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act (which passed 51-1 in the Senate & 242-0 in the House in 1890);

    The Republicans controlled Congress from 1896 to 1910 & again from 1918 to 1930.

    During that time, they “busted trusts,” established national parks & engaged in imperialist foreign policies during TR’s admin.

    They laid the foundations for the Federal Reserve Act & supported a “limited” national income tax during Taft’s Administration.

    Repubs, too, first proposed the fundamentals of the New Deal during the Hoover Administration

    Repubs permitted the nationalization by the Shah of Iran of American oil companies in the Mideast during Ike’s admin

    Repubs recognized Red China and kicked Taiwan, a founding Security Council member, out of the UN while enacting wage & price controls during the Nixon Administration

    Repubs created soaring deficits during the “conservative” Reagan administration, while “hawkishly” increasing defense spending a whopping .03% above that of the previous Carter administration and happily welcomed the Religious Right into national politics.

    Repubs under Georgie Bush I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq while increasing both taxes and deficits

    Finally, under George Bush II, Repubs passed the Patriot Act, leading to legalized warrantless searches, established the fascist agency known as the Dept. of Homeland (Fatherland) Security, jettisoned Habeas Corpus at Guantanamo, empowered the TSA, laid the foundations for NSA domestic covert spying while engaging in a fruitless “War on Terror” and, as as coup de grâce, trumped LBJ and his Great Society spending on Medicare while pushing the nation closer to socialized medicine–something his wildly popular Democratic Presidential predecessor and his power lusting wife could not do.

    Without Bushy Tail, it’s doubtful Obama-La-Ding-Dong could have gotten away with as much as he has.

    When the religious supernaturalist Republicans on the Right (as opposed to the secular supernatualist social constructivist Democrats on the Left) say they are for a nation’s right to self-defense or for freedom or for the sanctity of human life, they are not for a nation’s right to self-defense or for freedom or for human life.

    Their notion of a right is that which is delimited by religious percepts and commandments; hence their moral opposition to an actual war on Iran & Saudi Arabia (& the use of nukes–as Bush vehemently opposed, saying so outright that nuclear retaliation was “off the table”) and their kid gloves prosecution of the Iraq & Afghan “wars”, sacrificing American troops for the sake of the “innocent civilians” (i.e., those who accepted fascist Islam or the Nazi-esque Ba’athists), dropping foodstuffs “for the Afghan children,” which was consumed by the enemy or poisoned by them and distributed by them to civilians & by collecting dollars from public school children to send to those poor Afghan folks “caught in the middle” of the Islamic despotism they never opposed.

    When done, there stood two Islamic tyrannies where only one had existed. Either-you’re-for-us-or-against-us-Bush was apparently against us, as in U.S.

    Then there’s their notion of freedom, which is limited by religious ethics; hence, their opposition to cloning, abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, people who make “more than their fair share of money,” etc., etc.

    Their notion of human life as sacred is made so by a mystic component: the soul — to which they would, and regularly do, sacrifice actual human beings.

    So much for the Republicans.

    So I say, go fer it, Repubs: Commit political suicide. The quicker you do, the quicker we may have a genuine political party of opposition.

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