Friday, November 7, 2008
For starters, I'm a conservative Republican, just as my parents are. They never forced their politics on me, they simply explained the difference between the parties (they generally summed it up as Democrats=more government, Republicans=less government), told me why they thought the way they did, and let me decide. My father taught me about the virtues of everyday, normal people, and that American freedoms allowed them to benefit from their hard work and ingenuity. Of course, a side effect of the right to self-determination is that there is always the possibility of failure.
Around the age of 14 I began to look into politics. I found that that the Republican party generally tries to reduce government interference in the lives of Americans (I said generally; I'll discuss social issues in a later post). In the '80s this had the effect of allowing some to become very successful while others only slightly improved. It should be noted that, while the Democrats spent the next decade declaring that "the rich got richer and the poor got poorer" during that time, economic data actually shows that the rich got richer and the poor became slightly less poor.
In contrast, the Democrats make it their policy to enact regulations and legislation to supposedly "level the playing field". In other words, they rob working Americans of their hard-earned money through confiscatory taxes in order to give it to others who didn't earn it (i.e., socialism). Various other laws have been enacted by Democrats to control Americans lives for 'our own good'. You see, while Republicans believe that you can live your own life without a state-appointed nanny, Democrats have decided that you are too stupid to make your own decisions on how to spend your own money (despite Obama's campaign promises, Democrats are notorious for raising taxes), what to eat (California's new trans-fats laws, anyone?), what to drive, etc. In the meantime, they attempt to make people more dependent on the state through subsidies, welfare, socialized medicine, increasingly intrusive schools, etc. While many well-meaning people see such policies as compassionate, I see them as an attempt to subvert my free agency by people who do not respect my right to succeed or fail based on my own decisions and efforts (at best) or who crave power (at worst).
Furthermore, Democrats seem to excel at identity politics. I have never seen the Republican party play races or classes against each other. However, the Democrats frequently use class envy to try to gain an advantage (for example, by saying that the Bush tax cuts were only for the rich when middle class individuals such as myself greatly benefited from them). They play the race and gender cards constantly, establishing just about everyone as a victim of white, heterosexual, Christian males and demanding recompense (If you don't believe me, just ask yourself what party race-baiters such as Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson are allied with or who the male-bashers of the National Organization for Women support). This obsession with victimhood backfired on them when they had a black man and a white woman as their front-runner candidates in the primaries; the resulting bitterness allowed McCain to do significantly better than he should have. Not only are these efforts to arouse contention based on class, race, or gender against my moral principles, but it also strongly resembles the power-grabbing tatics of another political ideology; communism.
Between their collectivist economic policies, the drive to control how Americans live their lives, and the identity politics, the Democratic party seems to be trying to establish a socialist or communist nation on the European model. This is why the election of Obama, ranked as one of the most leftist senators in congress, worries me so much. The Soviet Union and several other nations have tried communism in the past. It destroyed Russia's economy, nearly destroyed China's (they had to change to a free-market system to save it), and left a body count in the tens of millions. Those countries that have tried more moderate forms of socialism such as France and England have become stagnant and are dependent on the United States for such basic things as national defense. America became the superpower that it did through the hard work, independence, and goodness of a free people; socialism, dependency on the state, and an ever-increasing bureaucracy will only destroy it, just as it has done and is doing to so many other nations.
The above statements are general by necessity; there are a multitude of details and exceptions that could be debated, but I hope that the above serves as a reasonable explanation for why I hold the political ideology that I do.