America has devolved, it seems to me, into two camps, two groups of incompatible philosophies. There are all sorts of sub-groupings where various citizens, and non bona fides cluster around a theme, be it religion, sex, sports, music, environmental whackery, etc.
At a traffic light recently, a young man pulled alongside me, his choice of, uh, music rattling my windows. As he pulled away, I retrieved my fillings from the floorboard and observed his bumper stickers: a rainbow, a Jesus fish, and an Oakland Raiders logo.
I’m not in any of his groups.
The two main groups I’m mainly concerned with consist of those whose allegiance is to the State, that being the imperial federal government, ever dangling its bag of goodies before the faithful in exchange for their loyalty (before and after death,) and those who value liberty, and see the existence of the aforementioned Beltway behemoth as an uninvited intrusion.
The two worldviews are irreconcilable, yet we co-exist for now. The irony should be lost on no one that generally speaking, those in the latter group are forced to ostensibly finance the worldview of those in the former.
What shall we call the first group? Liberals? Big government fans? Moochers? Leftists? Democrats?
And the second? Conservatives? Libertarians? Anti-government kooks? Republicans?
The first group I would label as Statists, those whose god is ostensibly the State. Their welfare, and their very lives they invest in the government, trusting that they will be perpetually cared for by a mass of faceless bureaucracies. For them, the State is the Source of all things necessary: food, shelter, education, transportation, insurance, retirement income, and cash for their clunker.
The latter group has an assortment of manifestations, be it Republicans, Libertarians, anarchists, voluntaryists, minarchists, or constitutionalists, all sharing a common theme: a desire for smaller government.
Each election cycle is a battleground between the two groups. Many in both groups see election day as their only recourse for the advancement of their worldview, and many politicians who would represent either group pander to both, serving red meat seasoned with the all-too familiar words and phrases which compel many to believe that if only their candidate would be elected, all would be right with the nation. For the first group, that would mean the gravy train would keep rolling. For the second group, the train would either stop, reverse course, or gloriously crash into the Red (get it?) River.
In essence, the first group is asking, “Will you continue financing all my wants and needs in exchange for my vote?”
The second group is saying, “Stop interfering in our lives.”
Generally speaking, Republican candidates have mastered the art of rhetoric, preaching the small government gospel while on the campaign trail, then reversing course once elected. The red meat is put in the Beltway freezer for another two years, and nothing much that was promised happens. The bureaucracy keeps chugging along, ever expanding, ever over-reaching into the lives of those in both groups, whether invited or not.
And many in the second group continue to fall for the act each time it is trotted out, dutifully believing that “this one is a real true conservative!” only to find out months later that they’ve been McCained.
What is the lesson here for those in the second group? It is that anyone can say anything about who they are and what they believe.
They must, however, be judged by what they do.
George W. Bush ran for the presidency proclaiming himself a “compassionate conservative,” which at the time sounded even better than a regular conservative. He wrapped himself in the cloak of Reagan, and assumed the position.
Eight years later, the declaration was a hollow shell of itself.
His kinsmanship with his predecessor has become well known. He has referred to Bill Clinton as his “brother from another mother.” When questioned about the 2016 presidential beauty contest, he offered his support for his biological brother, who some see being pitted against his non-biological brother’s wife.
“So what does that make Hillary to you?” W. was asked.
“My sister in law,” he chuckled the reply.
For those in Group B, the reply wasn’t funny. To continue to invest in a process with those who make promises that are never kept, the reply represented a truth those in said group need to grasp:
These people are all the same.
We are ruled, lorded over by an oligarchy, this gaggle of about a thousand people who share one common goal in life: the acquisition and maintenance of power. It must be acquired and kept at any price, using any means necessary, saying whatever must be said.
But the results never change. The monster continues to grow, spiraling out of control unabated, into every area of our lives. And this carnage is financed by its victims.
The saving grace is that the State, mired in unsustainable debt, will eventually collapse on itself. There will be a Great Default.
When it happens, those who are wholly invested in the State will be singing the blues. Those who invested in living responsibly will not be on the blues train when it crashes.
© Copyright 2015 Tim Holcombe