The Objective Eye

"Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demand for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen."
- Ayn Rand, "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business" (1961)

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why Conservatives Drive Me Crazy - Case # 6,241

(...or: How Conservative Ineptitude Is Neutralizing the Republican Party,)

Now Playing: "Begin the Beguine" et seq., via Art Tatum, from California Melodies

Today I switched on Sean Hannity's radio show and....I lasted about four minutes before I had to bail. Hannity was discussing the Democrat-Socialist Party's rash of proposals to nationalize what remains of America's medical industry; what I heard in his delivery was a distillation of everything the conservatives' philosophical and strategic ineptitude is doing (and has done,) to enable the triumph of irrationality and statism in America.

- Ineptitude Point #1: Conceding Premises at the Outset -

The conservatives are responding to Hillary's collectivized medicine crusade. That's: responding. They've heard her presentation; they object to it - not on ethical principle but because "it won't work" - so they spend the bulk of their time arguing over whatever specifics the Demo-Socialists toss out.

Note what the conservatives are not doing, conspicuously: They are not defending the inalienable right of doctors and patients to trade with one another without the interference of politicians, and they are not launching a principled agenda of privatization and deregulation as a direct rejection of the Demos' nationalization scam.

No, they simply criticize, passively and defensively, whatever outrages the Demo-Socialists lob at us.

This, incidentally, has been the pattern since the mid-1990s: The only time the conservative Republicans ever get around to proposing anything aggressively, it's in the form of one-upsmanship with the Demo-Socs on pathological altruism. As in "Hey, we can pass a bigger new entitlement program than you can... See? We care too." (A vivid and horrific example is the prescription drug wallow they recently tacked onto that slobbering, illegitimate monster called Medicare.)

But actually take stands on principle and reverse the slide into statism? Uh, no.

Note the deadly error in this default. In leapfrogging over ethical principle directly into debate on the details of Health Care Nationalization, they miss the vital first question, which ought to be the immediate focus of debate on all such Demo-Socialist proposals - and, sadly, most RINO proposals as well:

"What right does government have to meddle in the medical industry in the first place - especially when it is precisely that meddling, ca. 1965, which created the health care "crisis" we now see before us?"

To recap per Mises, as summarized nicely in Planned Chaos:

a.) Whenever a government interferes with a market, it initially seems a benefit - until the costs roll in and create a condition orders of magnitude worse than had existed before the interference;

b.) Rather than recognize the government intervention as the cause of the worsened condition and immediately repeal it, government officials, shunting blame to the very businesses into which they've intruded, add a new intervention to the first, to "fix" the problem;

c.) This secondary intervention initially improves the picture - until...the costs roll in and create a condition orders of magnitude worse than had existed before this latest intervention...

Etc., ad snowballum.

Which is how we got to the crisis condition we're in today. many conservatives do you hear identifying the root cause of the health care crisis and demanding an all-out assault on that root?

[~Sound of pin hitting floor, followed by dramatic echo...~]

The reason behind all of this is simple: Conservatives have replaced the right to one's Life, to one's Liberty, to the Pursuit of one's Happiness - and the self-responsibility that goes with explicit individualism - with the collectivist ethics of self-sacrifice and altruism. Therefore they have absolutely no answer to the most lame of Democrat-Socialist criticisms and cave under the faintest of pressure. That, in turn, means they do not dare propose anything for which they might face opposition.

Recall the lame-duck session of November and December 1995, when the GOP Congress was accused of "ham-fisted extremism" and "heartlessness" after refusing an omnibus (pork) spending bill, which refusal shut off funding for government operations just prior to the '95 holidays. The GOP had no principled reply (like, "How dare you Democrats claim a 'right' to squander other people's money, then evade responsibility for your actions?") Bob Dole, in his State of the Union response a month later, questioned why so many poor government employees had to have their Christmas seasons disrupted by anything so idiotic as principle. This man was rewarded with the 1996 candidacy for President of the United States.

Dole lost, deservedly; the celebrated "Freshman" GOP Congress, incapable of championing individual rights on ethical principle, folded along with its Contract With America, and the downward spiral began. And so it continues to this day.

Meanwhile, the rest of us GOP'ers out here in Realityland wait in vain for a single conservative GOP "leader" to stand up and challenge the core premise that government involvement in the medical industry is ethically, Constitutionally or even pragmatically justifiable in the first place. These people just can't - or won't - or don't dare - do it.

Instead they...discuss Hillary's plan.

So, having signed on at the outset to the Demo-Socialist Party's starting premises, (i.e., that doctors are slaves, hospitals are government fiefdoms, patients are cattle, and it's A-OK to fight a regulatory fire with gasoline explosives,) the conservatives lock themselves onto a dead-end track. They're left only to react to - and attempt to minimize the damage of - a Democrat power-grab that's all but certain to pass, with little opposition, into binding law.

Which is precisely how our government has mutated and metastasized into the vast, bloated, slobbering, oppressive pig we see before us. Conservatives busy themselves not with reversing the steady stream of Democrat-Socialist slop, but in debating what items ought to go on the hog's menu.

- Ineptitude Point #2: Tug-Of-War Forfeiture -

Something that ought to be obvious even to casual observers of politics is that Democrat-Socialists always jump right in with their maximum, hard-left bid - what Hearts players call "shooting the moon" - then back off a little if necessary, to preserve the comparative illusion of "moderation." Which means they generally get what they're after - which generally means the confiscation of more of our liberty.

Something that ought to be obvious even to casual observers of politics is that conservative Republican "leaders" never jump in with anything remotely related to achieving core GOP policies. They fall all over each other groveling for a chance to be the first to accept, then offer meek compromises on, the opposition's hard-left proposals - then congratulate themselves for "working in a spirit of unselfish bipartisanship."

Take note of what we haven't heard a peep of since the days of Reagan: Proposals for radical reductions in the size and scope of government, for eliminating programs, departments, regulations. Instead we hear a little timid muttering about "controlling spending."

So we have a tug-of-war in which one side goes for broke and pulls with all its might, consistently - while the other side gives in, sissy-fashion, every step of the way.

Guess which side loses?

- Conclusion -

The conservative "leadership" of the GOP, being spectacularly inept both intellectually and strategically, just never quite clue in to the larger picture of what's going on.

And what's going on? In a nutshell:

The Democrat Party is leading the GOP "leadership" around by the nose.

...Which is why our country is awash in the militant irrationality and out-of-control government power we have today. When those ostensibly charged with the defense of reason and liberty (the GOP's leaders,) consistently default on that responsibility, there is left a void. That void will always be filled by the most aggressive opportunists - in this case, the MoveOn wing of the Democrat Party.

Again, are there any Republicans left among the GOP "leadership"?

Essential Reading:

Robert J. Bidinotto's Up From Conservatism
Dr. Hudgins' 12-Step Cure for Big-Government Conservatism


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