2016: A Political Pickle

Who could have predicted the developments of the second half of 2015?  We live in crazy times.

The media and all the bobble-heads have been struggling to figure out the how and why of Donald Trump’s success.  It is certainly interesting and does get ratings, but at the end of the day: does it really matter?  The real question we should be asking is ‘what is a reasonable person to do?’

Barring some sort of sudden and major change, it is clear that Trump will be the GOP nominee.  On the other side, again barring some sort of major change, I believe Bernie Sanders has a very good chance of being the DNC nominee.

So there you have it: it will be a choice between fascism and socialism.  How frustrating it all is!  A choice between two different sorts of totalitarianism: on the right, it is a totalitarianism based upon nationalism and nativism; two old fashioned concepts which continue to persist.  On the left, it is a totalitarianism based upon “fairness” but is really just socialism (but as I will soon show, the right has adopted its own form of socialism.)

The rise of these two phenomena (for lack of a better term) may appear disconnected or that one is a response to another.  On the contrary; they are two different symptoms of the same disease which afflicts American political culture.

That disease has afflicted us since the 1930’s; simply, it is an over-dependence on a central government to solve our problems through coercion and laws instead of solving problems ourselves through personal and economic freedom.   Indeed, we have seen a complete perversion of the word ‘freedom’ – now it means freedom from difficulty, need, or danger, instead of freedom from force or coercion.

This change in the definition is especially concerning; we can be sure of freedom from coercion, that is easy to see; but we can never be free of need, difficulty or danger.  These things are facts of life and the longer we try to hide from them, the harder they will bite when we are found.

Freedom from need and difficulty: such seems to be the goal of the left.  Freedom from danger is the goal of the right.  And politicians from either side can scare voters into submission with these things constantly, because these things will never go away.

The left calls upon a a system which is known only for it’s failures throughout history (as if this time will be any different).  Everything from education to healthcare will come under the control of the state and no longer dependent on free market exchange, but rather on the force and coercion of the laws.  (I will not elaborate much on this here, as this particular subject will be the focus of an upcoming article.)

As for the right, there is a form of socialism that exists unacknowledged.  And really, the only difference between the socialism of the Right and the Left is the extent of it.  Republicans support just as much government intervention as the left does; and thus, modern “conservatism” is just “conservative socialism.”  As Hayek notes, it was a form of “conservative socialism” which helped pave the road for the National Socialist Worker’s Party in Germany (in “Road to Serfdom.”)

The party which constantly claims to be true to the wisdom of the founders constantly ignores their wisdom.  The party which claims to be the party of freedom and fiscal responsibility always seem to forget what those things really mean.

No, in reality, the right is just the party of irrational fear.  Fear of Mexicans, of Muslims, of the ever-vague “terrorist” – all of which are taken very seriously by the right, just as a child really thinks there is a monster under his bed or in his closet.  But reasonable people know that these are just imagined threats, just as the monsters are.

Conservatives, forgetting that “the sea of liberty is never without a wave” prefer to make landfall on Alcatraz island and lock themselves in, compromising their civil rights for sake of safety.  Better put, they have no reservations about compromising the civil rights of “others.”

There is this incessant desire to dominate the world militarily –  and while there is nothing wrong with dominating the world economically (through innovation, creation, production) but to do so by force is an expensive proposition, one we will inevitably have to bear.  The moral aspect of it all is dubious at best.  Remember: war is socialism.

What is the “conservative vision” for America?  Equally as terrifying as the “progressive vision” for one.  Tens of thousands of people would be rounded up and shipped away; those that remain would be obliged to show their papers when asked by law enforcement, and can be taken away if no papers are produced.  In short?  Life in an occupied country.

As for the opening question: what are reasonable people to do?

There are a few liberty-minded candidates in the running in our own state; in particular, David McClain (S.D. 34) and Amanda Teegarden (S.D. 39) – some consolation in a seemingly hopeless political “pickle.”

—-

This next year will certainly be long and we haven’t much look forward to as regards the political situation that afflicts us, but politics isn’t everything.  There is so much more to life – to all my readers, have a happy and healthy new year!

 

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