Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Leviathan on the Right

After reading Michael Tanner’s book “Leviathan on the Right” I would like to say that it is a very good book that should sharpen the debate about the divide between modern conservative thought (whatever that means) and libertarian philosophies.

Republicans have openly abandoned small government conservatism, as Tanner’s book further proves. The real question now is how to fix the problem. Without a strong Libertarian party, we must choose our course of action. Will we A) change support to the Democrats to send a message B) continue to support the Republicans who have abandoned social and most economic freedoms or C) split our votes between the two.

Option C would obviously be disastrous. Being a minority group, our power is already diluted. Splitting the minority in half would effectively cancel any sway we could have in major party politics.

Option A sounds enticing at the current moment. There is no better way to sting the Republican party for abandoning us than to move our registration to the Democratic party. They have consistently opposed indefinite detainment, supported immigration reform, and have pushed for a more federalist approach to addressing issues such as gay marriage and medical marijuana. The problem with option A is two fold. First, they do not believe in economic freedom. They generally believe that Government can create an ordered society if it just has enough resources. It doesn’t matter if the initiative doesn’t work because the line of reasoning is always that it doesn’t have enough resources. When it comes down to it, I simply just don’t trust them with taxes or free trade. Say what you will about the Bush administration and the Republican congress, but at least they have been good on these two bedrock issues. Democrats call for reforming the AMT is encouraging but in the end it is a shallow play for inner city votes and not a change philosophy. Voting for Democrats will only enable them to sink free trade agreements and fight the “I can spend more money than you” battle with Republicans.

The only reasonable course of action seems to be option B. While Republicans may have turned on small government philosophy, it has only been in the last 8 years. On the Democrats side they have been that way for almost the last 100 years. The Republican party needs a tune-up while the Democrats would require an engine overhaul. I also think that a reversion back to small government principles will happen almost naturally. It seems that losing control of congress in 06 wasn’t enough of a wakeup call. Will falling into a deeper hole in congress and losing the presidency in 08 turn things around? I don’t know the answer to that, but it must stand to reason that a party which loses (and I predict they will) two branches of government (and one could argue the third since the next president will almost assuredly be appointing a Supreme Court justice) in four years must do some soul searching. There was a superficial soul searching after the 06 midterm but the outcome seemed to be that Republicans were hurt by the Foley/Katrina/Iraq axes of evil and should elevate Reagan to idyllic levels as opposed to reinventing small government conservatism. So maybe then the answer should be to vote against Republicans in 08 so that they are forced to rethink their position after a miserable showing. So that means option A for 08 and then back to option B. If Republicans don't return to small government conservatism the only answer would be option D--move to Arizona (New Hampshire is too cold).

That might be the ticket, although I don’t think I could force my hand to check off a D. The possibility gives me the creeps.

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