Sunday, January 18, 2015

Democrats Must Defend the Indefensible

Within one month of the Democratic Party's devastating losses in 2014, The Daily Beast kicked them while they were down with the following article:

Democrats Are Petrified of Defending Government—but They Need to Start

Democrats are afraid to defend government because their wanton expansion of the state has exposed its endemic, inevitable incompetence in the face of private enterprise and local control.

Obamacare has been on flagrant example of Big Government gone bad. Even those who claim to benefit from Obamacare are finding it more difficult to find cooperative doctors and quality access. The head photo of the Daily Beast article features a frowning, menacing liberal Democrat Chuck Schumer staring down the reader.

US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasy opened his article:

Republicans profit from Americans’ childish hatred of government—and Democrats lose every time by staying silent. Why they need to follow Chuck Schumer’s example and take on the issue.

"Childish" is the basic staple of elitist shame which liberals resort to because they cannot defend their policies and values. Were the American revolutionaries childish because they challenged the authority of the British Crown and demand that their government recognize the colonists' natural rights as Englishmen?

There is nothing childish, but rather a demonstration of complete maturity, when free men and women challenge the large role of government force in their lives, and invite discussion about scaling back its influence.

Consider the first paragraph of the piece:

If you number yourself among my longer-suffering readers, you may know that one of the occasional hobbyhorses I ride for 800 words is my immense frustration that Democrats are terrified of defending government. Oh, some of them do sometimes. But mostly they defend ends, not means. That is: They defend this or that program or policy goal, but they don’t defend the vehicle that provides it, the federal government.

Ends, goals, results are the staple which justify or denounce the means, the process for achieving anything through state power. Oftentimes, however, the means impede the ends, and generate a lackluster outcome. Welfare programs were initiated to help people out of poverty. The flawed logic and moral reasoning behind these programs explain why after decade of government "War on Poverty" policies, more people find themselves trapped in the cycle of poverty, unable to get out. Harvard Professor Charles Murray's seminal work On Losing Ground documented how government subsidy enabled dependence and prolonged poverty for the very people who were intended to benefit.

Goals, results and the process are two different elements within the government, and the Framers had intended a system which prolonged the process into near-frustration. Even while referencing Schumer's rallying cry in the Defense of the Federal government, Tomasy and any heeding American cannot ignore that the liberal New York legislator called Obamacare a  mistake, when they Democrats should have focused on economic recovery. During the first two years of President Obama's Presidency, however, and for decades prior, the Democratic Party was not motivated by improving the individual lot of working Americans, but rather expanding universal ideals and leveling inequalities in purported social programs, like healthcare and education.

Market forces, completion, private enterprise, and individual initiative reform and improve community institutions better than government intervention. The records, the research, and the legacies confirm these findings.

Democrats are the party of the Big Government, yet in the last six years, under the tutelage of government largesse, Democrats have witnessed the inevitable failures of deficit spending, government mandates, unrelenting regulations, and Keynesian ideological posturing.

And it has failed terrible. Tomasy is basically shaming Democrats into defending the indefensible, and as long as they continue down that they path, they can expect to have nothing to stand on, despite all that they stand for, and endure years of marginal, minority status in the federal government.

This is what infuriates me, what the Democrats and the progressive political experts have done such a pathetic job at explaining to people. There are certain things that everyone knows the government takes the lead on—highways probably being the most obvious. But who cleans lakes and streams and rivers and makes them fishable and swimmable again? Who reduces smog, acid rain, lead poisoning? Who cleans up toxic waste sites? Who builds (or provides a lot of the money to build) senior citizen centers and community swimming pools and all manner of recreational facilities?

While Tomasy would "childishly" answer these questions with "the government", the truth is that individuals and concerns communities maintain clean lakes, strong highways. The wealth of individuals funds government programs, not vice versa. The government can order, but the voluntary association and commitment of concerned citizens accomplishes much more, without government coercion, and accomplishes the same better.

Not Democrats' adherence to government, but rather Republican insistence on private enterprise is what is desperately lacking in our political discourse. All those principles which the Tea Party movement talks about -- limited government, individual liberty, Constitutional rule, fiscal discipline -- those are the values which needed to be defended, and yet we find all too often that Republican do not want to defend them.

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