There is a perception out there that Mitt Romney’s new position on abortion is somehow reasonable and reflective. That now he has seen the light, was wrong when he was pro-choice, and has the intestinal fortitude to admit his intellectual/philosophical err and move on. Ostensibly, in a direction of legitimacy based upon conviction and due consideration.
If what one is looking for is conviction and an adherence to reason, logic, and the precepts of what America was founded upon, one must read Dr. Reisman’s excellent post. There is also a candid, and always unique, perspective from George Will.
Moreover, I make the following argument in The Price of Sin:
And therein lays the crux of the issue. We have two primary political parties in this country today and both have an irrational belief in the inherent virtue of a strong, and growing, central government. The aforementioned vision is now merely a quaint notion of a bygone era, It has been replaced by bureaucracies staffed with people who are demanding health care, retirement benefits, extended vacations and more all at the expense of the producing taxpayers, A bureaucracy that is designed to measure success by the number of people it draws under its wing and the scope of benefits it provides them, rather than the number of people liberated from its provisioning and control.
On the one hand you have the Democrats that believe as a central premise the inherent need and virtue of central, federal, government control and intervention; the more the better from their perspective. Moreover, these Democrats clearly believe in statism, market controls, and economic restriction far more than any belief in individual autonomy and capitalism; capitalism, from their perspective, is to be suspect and never allowed to operate laissez-faire. For many on the political left in this country they see nothing inherently, morally, or practically wrong with socialism. To the extent they have criticism of socialism, it is never apologetic for the philosophy and critical only of practitioners external to America who practice its ultimate climax. The irony here is that many on the left in America are militant about social freedoms, yet almost discard out of hand the one system that would maximize individual liberty – capitalism.
The Republicans, on the other hand, are even suspect in just talking a good game when it comes to liberty, freedom, and capitalism. As a group their tenets, regardless of statements to the contrary, appear from their actions and include a large and growing federal military/industrial complex; federal and state intervention, funding, and monopolization of education; huge corporate welfare and social programs (such as the Farm Bill and Medicare); interventionism as a national policy and intransigence with regard to the actualization of the privatization of key programs such as social security and health care. It is clear from their repeated actions after numerous opportunities that they do not act in ways that would bring fundamental aspects forward which reflect the founding vision of this country. Sadly, the Republicans of today see government as a means of manipulating voting blocks to institutionalize their religious moral convictions and to rally the forces of religious fundamentalism to the point of a litmus test for serving as one of their standard-bearers. The fact that divine providence played a key and central role in the minds of many of the founders does not create a mandate for religion amongst the political class; for just as they believed in a guiding force, they also believed in liberty, freedom and the enlightened man.
In today’s Republican Party, one gets the attention of the party not by being a classical liberal who espouses the great traditions of liberty as argued by the anti-federalists, or even a fiscal conservative, but rather by being an evangelical Christian who publicly states his or her pro-life commitment. Just go into the parking lot of any evangelical church and witness the number of ‘W’ bumper stickers. Whatever else you may harbor as views, including fiscal conservatism and limited government, they are secondary and used principally as lip service to mollify people at the edges of the tent. Voting groups who espouse the philosophy of liberty to which Adams, Paine, and Henry believed so deeply and was, in retrospect, a philosophy of and central idea behind America is considered extreme. Such positions a candidate must campaign “towards” in order to secure his base, only to leave later at election time or, as we have seen time and again, upon election to office.
We clearly now have in our political realm, as so recklessly (but brilliantly) stated by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged, the “mystics of muscle” and the “mystics of spirit.” Neither group has as a fundamental vision, “the enjoying and defending of life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness.” The mystics of spirit (exemplified in many ways by George W. Bush) substitute revelation for reason and demand that the individual surrender his mind and self-interest to the will of God as defined by modern religion. The mystics of muscle substitute emotion for reason and similarly force the individual to sacrifice his own rational self-interest to the will of a non-entity called society, euphemistically bandied about as the “common good.”
Both of these current incarnations of mystics tell us plainly that the prime directive is self-sacrifice. From taxation for programs most will not benefit from to selective service in the military in campaigns of pre-emptive strikes or nation-building. The worst possible scenario, for liberty’s sake, is to have both varieties present in the same political party as we seem to have currently in the Republican party as led by George W. Bush, who stated: “Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to humanity.” The problem here is that he, as a firm believer in both divine providence and the power of a strong central government, seeks to deliver said liberty at the point of a gun, or with your and my tax dollars. Whatever your position on the state of affairs in Iraq it is clear what our role is, interventionism at the point of a gun. Regardless your view on education, it is clear what our role has become – interventionism by government with your and my tax dollars with little or no ability to vote with those dollars. The facts belie any rhetoric to the contrary.
Both parties, and the majority of voting Americans, seem to have completely lost the core vision of what America was originally meant to be for each and every one of us; the greatest gift of freedom and liberty here on earth. They have thrown it away piece by piece, political deal after political deal, government benefit and earmark after yet another benefit and earmark. In its place we have implemented the chains of interventionism, statism and, sadly, religious fundamentalism. Once allowed to be ingrained on a national level it is only a matter of time before it becomes the same logic on the state and local level. There is no doubt that this is part and parcel of the overriding concern so eloquently stated by Patrick Henry. Reasonable people may come to other conclusions, but this you cannot categorically rule out.
At the moment of greatest weakness in the Democrats opportunity to regain the White House, the unfortunate events of the CNN YouTube debate took place. That debate, in my estimation, revealed once again that the GOP has simply not changed one iota. It is an intellectually isolated mentality which presumes an evangelical premise, has a pro-life litmus test, and picks and chooses its federal welfare state as it sees fit.
The GOP has become an abomination.