The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What is the Republican Party?

I look at the polls that are being conducted, even now, two years before the nomination process begins, and I see three names at the top of the Republican list: Christie, Huckabee, and Paul. It would be hard to find three more dissimilar people to carry the banner of the party. And this shows the nature of the problem. The Republican Party is a coalition of several factions. And each of the top three is a representative of a different one of these factions.

Chris Christie is a pre-eminent example of what I would call the “pragmatic” wing of the party. He knows that “pure” Republicanism will not be imposed on a public that is (in his state) majority Democratic; therefore, he has found ways to make common cause with Democrats to get as much of his program through. It is this “pragmatism” that suited him well. His first term was so successful that he was re-elected with a landslide majority last year.

Mike Huckabee is what his followers choose to call a “social conservative”; a better term for the faction, however, is “moralist.” He is guided by the principles he believes come from God; as a result, he favors making the tenets of his religion supersede even the principles of the Constitution. I have to say that having these people in my party scares me; I am, certainly, willing to accept their votes when they go to the candidate I favor — no matter whose votes go to my candidate, it's a good thing! — but they are not people whom I want to see running the country. Their Bible is not my Bible, and their interpretation of that part of their Bible which is also in my Bible is not my interpretation of those Scriptures, but first and foremost, their insistence that they are to follow the Bible, rather than the Constitution, is what really scares me. I don't want to live in a Christian theocracy, any more than I would want to live in a Muslim theocracy like Iran.

Rand Paul does not scare me, the way Mike Huckabee does. His followers would say that they belong to a “libertarian” wing of the party, and libertarianism is a philosophy that, to a large extent, I share. However, Paul is not just libertarian, but also isolationist, and while I had thought isolationism, as a movement in the Republican Party, had died out in 1941 when the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor, I am surprised to see it revive after more than a half century. Rand Paul has become the spokesman of this “libertarian-isolationist” wing; and as I've implied, while I share a lot of its libertarianism, I cannot accept its isolationism.

So we are not just looking at the fortunes of three candidates, but rather we are looking at the struggles of three groups of Republicans to forge a party that reflects their philosophies. And that is why I am so strongly behind Chris Christie for the nomination.

No comments: