For most of my life, I had bought into the notion that America had two major political parties, one being the party of liberalism and government largess, the other being the party of conservatism and the reduction of government.
I “came of age” politically very early. I remember being transfixed at age 7, not by The Lone Ranger, but by the Republican national convention in Miami. The year was 1968. Richard Nixon easily won the nomination on the first ballot, defeating Nelson Rockefeller and Ronald Reagan, and ultimately, Hubert Humphrey in the general election. I was fascinated by the theater. He was re-elected in 1974 and succeeded by Gerald Ford, who was defeated by Jimmy Carter in 1976.
It was about this time that it became clear to me of a divide within the GOP. The small-government advocacy in Ronald Reagan’s rhetoric found a home among many Americans wary of government excess, and he roared to victory in 1980, swamping the hapless incumbent. He easily won re-election, and was succeeded by the first Bush.
All along, I was a dutiful Republican. I remained that way because I never paused to look beyond the rhetoric which politicians employ to get elected. Reagan understood that a large portion of the electorate was weary of large government, tired of over-taxation, and bureaucratic overreach. Thus, the Great Communicator connected with them successfully, and was rewarded with two terms. Bush 41 rode the Reagan coattails to victory, while not nearly as eloquent, or critical of huge government as his predecessor. He led us to war, then lost to Clinton who had two terms and ostensibly maintained the status quo. Then came George W. Bush, who borrowed the term “conservative” from Reagan, attached “compassionate” to it, and proceeded to preside over the grossest expansion and overreach of the federal government in American history.
It was at some point during W’s second term that I stepped off the train.
All along, I had identified myself as a conservative. The day it dawned on me that a lot of people who also claimed to be conservative were actually not is the day I began a complete political reevaluation, which included an inspection of what the term conservative must actually mean. I’d always assumed that a conservative was a person who believed in smaller, limited government. However, as those claiming to be conservatives continued to be elected, government only got larger and larger. Reagan is the darling of those in the conservative movement. The fact of the matter is that under Reagan, government got larger.
Much larger. In fact, no federal bureaucracy ended, as one might expect to happen with a conservative president. Reagan had promised to eliminate the departments of Education and Energy, but expanded them instead. The man who famously told us the nine most terrifying words were “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” added 324,000 employees to the federal bureaucracy. It’s a dirty little secret Reagan devotees never share, if they even know: the federal government of the United States exploded with growth under him. And where government grows, liberty shrinks.
And that was billed as conservatism.
And this has been enough for most American voters. Identify the candidate who espouses the familiar rhetoric and support him. As long as he is a Republican, or a conservative, that’s our guy. And that is the extent of their investment into the process. Along comes W, claiming the mantle of conservatism, and he has an instant base. Nevermind whether he actually is a conservative. He says he is, hence, punch that chad right there.
And punch it. Punch it real good.
But make sure you punch it for the Republican, because it is Republicans who generally claim the mantle of conservatism. And there are people who will look for the “R” and vote accordingly, because, well….that’s just how they roll. I mean, you don’t expect me to actually have to think about this, do you?
After watching the blatant, no holds barred assault on any vestige of restraint with regards to the growth of government by Bush 43, I paused to reconsider the definition of the term conservatism.
I knew what I meant by the term. To me, conservatism meant a massive reduction in the size of scope of the federal government. But it had become obvious that the GOP had another definition for the word. Hence, someone’s definition was wrong. Mine, or theirs.
What does one do when there is confusion about terminology? One goes back to the old dictionary, of course. And there I found what should have been obvious all along. To conserve something simply means to maintain what is, as is. Don’t change a thing. So if we have a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy, the conservative will want to maintain it.
But let’s not get too legalistic with them, as they don’t really ever leave things as they are. Government, to the conservative, is like a bowl of ice cream. Since it’s actually really good, another scoop of it would be even better.
And this is where the roads all run together. This is where the curtain is pulled back on this biennial dog and pony show known as elections. This is where one actually discovers that what the Republican Party really wants is the exact same thing that the Democratic Party really wants: more government. More power. More control. And most importantly, the eradication of liberty for the masses ignorant enough to continue participating in this scam, this shell game known as elections. The fact is that Americans are lorded over by an oligarchy of a few thousand politicians and bureaucrats inside the D.C. beltway who live in a whole ‘nother taxpayer-funded universe. They produce nothing. They create nothing. They contribute nothing. They benefit no one. They are leeches, federal blood suckers whose mission in life is to create havoc and turmoil for everyone who is not beholden to the same lord and master they worship. They worship at the altar of Lincoln. Their chalice bears the likeness of Roosevelt, and is filled with taxpayer bounty. They are the demons of the State, the sworn enemies of anyone with the stink of liberty on their minds.
But all we must do is elect another Republican to change all this, right?
Actually, the title of this diatribe is a tad misleading. Republicans really are conservative, if one uses their definition, which obviously equates conservatism with government largess, a never-ending expansion of the State, and perpetual empire building via war after war after war. Really, when is the last time a Republican cut anything? When is the last time a Republican eliminated any – any – federal department? Is it really that hard? Would any American be devastated were he to find out tomorrow morning that the Department of Energy had been shuttered?
I’ve had to abandon the term and find a new one. My new term must be defined thusly: one who wishes to see the federal government obliterated. Libertarian? Anarchist? Minarchist? Monarchist? Philosophical free agent?
The federal government does nothing for me. Not a thing. All it does is obstruct and assault. Any plan I wish to pursue, there is some bureaucrat somewhere, watching (on camera, no doubt), lying in wait to foil it. If you’re inclined toward liberty, the federal government and its dutiful gatekeepers, the GOP and the DNC, both one and the same, are your sworn enemy.
What are those who are devotees of liberty to do? First, awaken to the scam. Second, live your life according to the path you have chosen, and repel as best you can any incursion on your life and liberties from any government to the best of your ability. Third, refuse to participate in the scams known as national elections, as there is no political solution to all that ails Amerika. The person who votes is giving his consent to be governed by these statist monsters, these enemies of freedom. Refuse to play their game.
Just imagine…..what if no one voted?
Now to the loyalist, that is to say, to the person who has sold his soul to the State, this sounds like treasonous talk. One might have said the same of the founders, who employed language like this toward their oppressors. Ironically, the burdens imposed on the colonists by the Crown were far, far less egregious than those we bear today.
The sooner the reader wakes up to the fact that the imperial federal government of the United States is your sworn enemy, and that no politician is going to change this, the sooner he can start living his life as far away from Uncle Sam’s plantation as possible.
Saddle your horses. Let’s ride.