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Are the donkey and elephant really all that different?

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“This country is a one-party country. Half of it is called Republican and half is called Democrat. It doesn’t make any difference. All the really good ideas belong to the Libertarians.” Hugh Downs

Today, if you were to ask a democrat at the grassroots level what the Democratic Party is supposed to be for, they would generally say they support civil rights, economic justice and are the party of the common man and woman.

The Democratic Party traces its roots to the Anti-Federalist factions that opposed the fiscal policies of Alexander Hamilton in the early 1790s. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison organized these factions into the Democratic-Republican Party.  The party favored a limited national government and strict adherence to the Constitution; it opposed a national bank and was generally thought of being the party of the farmer.  The Democratic-Republican Party ascended to power in the election of 1800. After the War of 1812, the party’s chief rival, the Federalist Party disbanded. Democratic-Republicans split over the choice of a successor to President James Monroe, and the party faction that supported many of the old Jeffersonian principles, led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren became the Democratic Party. Ultimately, the Democratic Party sold out to the J.P. Morgan interests in the 1890’s and have been firmly statist ever since.

Today, if you were to ask a republican at the grassroots level what the GOP is supposed to stand for, they would say they are opposed to deficit spending and to interference in the affairs of businesses, individuals and other nations.

The Whigs were a commercial party, and usually less popular, but better financed.  The Whigs divided over the slavery issue and the Mexican–American War and faded away.  In the 1850s, as a result of the Fugitive Slave Law and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, anti-slavery Democrats left the party. Joining with former members of existing or dwindling parties, the Republican Party emerged in 1854.  Its early existence was characterized by protectionism (which actually hurt the economy), industrial development, and moral purity aspirations.

While slavery was one issue of national prominence during this time, the claim that the war between the states was about ending slavery is intellectual dishonesty. If the American Civil War ended slavery, then what about the hundreds of millions of slaves (conservative estimate) or the estimated 4 billion people (2/3 of the world’s population) who are in poverty today?  The real cause of the war was economic specifically tariffs.

In the 20th century, both parties had taken on “the government can and ought to do more” approach particularly on economic and moral issues aka the so-called Social Gospel.  Both parties would claim that Jesus was on their side never mind the fact that Jesus never advocated force or the use of violence in doing His work.  He came as a lamb, not a lion.  Jesus did not judge people by group labels, but addressed them as unique individuals.

There were cycles where both parties would claim to be the party of small government, but those statements were rarely argued on the basis of true principles.  They were merely making these claims so that they would appear to be different.

U.S. political policy runs between communism and fascism which is derived from the Latin word fasces. This nation has not had a free market economy in at least 100 years or so. Communism and fascism are merely two brands of socialism. Both find classical liberalism (rights of the individual to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) to be repulsive.

In theory, communism and its derivatives is supposed to result in a classless, stateless and oppression-free society. Generally, communists would be opposed to the imperial aims that most European nations have embarked on since ancient times, but see a struggle of the workers rising up in every nation against what they see as oppressive capitalism. Economic decisions are supposedly made in a democratic fashion, but in fact is determined by a central planning committee. In a nutshell, whenever communism theory has been put to practice, the end result was a disaster. Communist leaders like Stalin and Mao justified their collectivist policies as being for the public good or that he was modernizing society and his means of doing this led to a cult of personality, famine or terror. According to R.J. Rummel, in the 20th century alone, 262,000,000 people have been murdered as a result of democide.

In terms of economic policy, many fascist leaders have claimed it was a “Third Way” in economic policy, which they believed superior to both the rampant individualism of the free market and state socialism. This was to be achieved by establishing significant government control over business and labor. Italian fascist leader Mussolini called his nation’s system “the corporate state”.

So basically, while both systems were undoubtedly collectivist, they differed greatly in their socio-economic content. For Communism was a genuine revolutionary movement that ruthlessly displaced and overthrew the old ruling elites; while fascism, on the contrary, cemented into power the old ruling classes. Therefore, fascism was a counter-revolutionary movement that froze a set of monopolistic privileges upon society. This was the reason that Fascism proved so attractive (which Communism, of course, never did) to big business interests in the West throughout much of the 20th century.

Given that the Communist approach would not work in the revolutionary sense, it had to adopt a different tactic. Thus it adopted the ways of the Fabian Society vis a vis gradualist and reformist, rather than revolutionary. In a nutshell, communism became institutionalized.

The hallmark of this institutionalization was Keynesian economics named for John Maynard Keynes.  Keynes was as elitist as they come.  Keynes would have been at odds with communism in terms of its original social/economic intent (the peasants rising up against the landlords), but not its ultimate application (centralized planning of the economy).  One of Keynesian economics main features is massive government spending by means of increasing deficits and public works projects.

Neo-conservatism is the merger of these philosophically opposing views.  Neo-cons derive their inspiration from national socialism (hence all the talk about the homeland) and support the social welfare programs of the Progressives thus appealing to the communist branch of socialism. It is an attempt to unite socialism under one roof.  The other aim is economic collapse on a global scale.  The free-market implies small business ownership and independence.  Free markets are incompatible in a statist society.  This is mixed with religious fervor (i.e. the State is God) so as to ensure generally religious people would at least not be opposed to the state if not join the state altogether.

So in summary, neither party minus a few individuals is pro-liberty. Both parties are firmly statist in economic and personal matters as well as foreign affairs.  It is high time for people at the grassroots level to finally acknowledge the inherent weaknesses of political parties just as George Washington had forewarned.  Perhaps Tennessee representative Lincoln Davis was right when he said “If the Republican Party continues to trend to the far right and the Democrat Party trends to the left after this election, I think there is a good possibility that a second party will emerge, a second party because I think both the democrats and republicans will become the minority.”

That second party should be you!

Written by chrisforliberty

July 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm

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