Thursday, November 1, 2012

from Lincoln to Romney

 "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better." — Willard Mitt Romney

For the two or three people, who read here regularly, know my political leanings; and it has chased two or three others away, sense that i have a high degree of disgust, and ridicule for the Republican party. If they could just run on a naked 'positive' programme, and by 'positive' i mean without all the dirty tricks they constantly employ, they do have a consistent bedrock argument they fight for, and that is one of unfettered pursuit for the financial 'entrepreneur'. A simple concept, with simple, hydra-headed corollaries which they always push. Now, say that is their programme (and it is). This is why they have been in love with Adam Smith, and then Ayn Rand.

The problem is they have tried it, and it always has failed; and their new plan is always the same plan. Franklin Roosevelt showed them they were wrong, and saved them. Did they change? No, they have not stopped attempting to remove everything the New Deal accomplished. Even worse, for those who have intellectual honesty, they lie continuously and there is no shortage of propagandists for those dishonest propositions. The Great Depression, brought to us by Mellon and Hoover, was brought to us by these ideas. The Great Recession, brought to us by georgebushjr, was brought to us by these ideas.

For moral people, those who truly believe, or at least respect, the teachings of Jesus: their [Republican, Libertarian] positive programme* is nothing more than the worship of Mammon. That bronze bull on Wall Street is just a larger, cheaper version of a golden calf.

Abraham Lincoln finished his Gettysburg Address with "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".  Many of us were taught this to believe. It is just another formulation of the social contract theory of government. Lincoln was once a Republican, the first president elected as a Republican. His ideas are the anti-theses of that successor party bearing that name.

What became of that party? They enjoyed the benefits of the winning of the War for the Union — profits (and increased manufacturing base, and with an expansion of railroads to come, more money); and the declared position that they were the American political party.

Lincoln's "government of the people" became the government of the robber barons. Progressivism of both Democrats and Republicans modified this. World War I came under Wilson, a Democrat and a progressive, and that period was succeeded by the Republicans' Harding's message of "a return to normalcy". The 1920s brought in the power of conservative Republicans which led to the Great Depression. And there has been no positive change in the Republican party since.

Small Government ideal—Ted Rall
That is a lot of history in a few sentences. A certain logic would have the Republican party never see a victory after 1929. By 1938 that failed ideology became vibrant, as in the movie Frankenstein, "the monster lives". It plods along and continues to destroy.
  *“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”  — John Kenneth Galbraith.  Interview with Rupert Cornwell. Toronto Globe and Mail. 6 July 2002.

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