Category Archives: The Brew’s Thoughts

On the ‘Death of America’

There has been a great deal of lamentation over this last election. In part, it was because the stakes, as seen by some, have never been greater. Indeed, the aspiration of a far-reaching all-powerful state did seem to face off against the very thought that it is government that crushes inspiration, if not people or their dreams themselves. This was perhaps more the reality of an ‘in’ crowd as opposed to the actual reality of the debate–by that I mean not any individual Presidential debate, but the overall narrative of the last two years (if not four).

I found myself talking with some relatively like-minded friends of mine regarding the election, its ramifications, and what we can expect for the future. The overwhelming tone seemed to be something akin to “We are finished.” It is already a story that has been told a thousand times, but that is so much more driven by a media, like a hydra, with many heads, each of which ‘needs’ to fill the space around it with noise than it is the actual defeat of libertarian ideals.

Indulge me briefly in two points:

Shortly after the events of September 11th, all America united around the flag, the President, and our shared values. Support for our shared goals became so favorable for such a long period of time that eventually the question was asked “if the Democrats keep going along with all of the Bush White House’s ideas, do they risk becoming a permanent minority.” This was before the Iraq war. Almost immediately you saw a good number of Democrats change their tune. Certainly the war in Iraq did not help the Republican’s chances of maintaining a long-standing control of government. Democracies hate war, and eventually that war became a perceived over-step. This actually lends insight into two facets of the ever-changing balance of power in Washington; that real and perceived oversteps will poison the faith of Americans and that this discussion about which party is finished is rather common.

Certainly, anyone who knows about payroll knows that there are some very large, very real ways that the Democratic party has already signaled its willingness to not only put a gun back to the head of the American economy, but to pull the trigger.

Second, most of the people who I have heard commiserating on this election have treated it as a defeat of this ideology or of the swan song of the Republican party. The former is simply not played out by the facts and the latter is simply the current banner party of conservative government. The point there being that even if the Republican Party dies, it is hardly as though those ideas so popular in American culture would die with it, never to be thought again. Without getting too deep into that, let me address the idea of limited and fiscally responsible government. We did not see from the Romney/Ryan ticket a well leveled debate on the role and size of government.

We did not see the Republican Party waging a war in the large and open fields of economic and tax policy where clearly the argument is hugely weighted in favor of people like Ryan. Obama’s interest in the budget and deficit is so fleeting, I was surprised to hear him even mention the words. We probably all keep or at one time kept a budget and just about anyone can understand that eventually the money and the credit runs out. When that happens everyone under that roof suffers. This is easy stuff, and so self-evident it resonates with most responsible people. Instead, the fight was taken to defensive skirmishes about Pel grants and an imagined ‘war on women’ with only occasional references to bad things the Obama administration had done.

So when we lament the defeat of our conservative values, its really because we are looking at this as a war of ideas. This battle is happening somewhere, it wasn’t really what we just witnessed. Equally so, Obama’s assertion that he has ANY mandate is false. He divided. He conquered, but only by bribing the human aspiration into submission, by turning his opponents into monsters in the minds of the uninformed, and stoking flames of vengeance against our neighbors for real or imagined sins.

The fight for the hearts and minds of America goes on, and the call for smaller, more responsible government can and should be made in the next four years. The smart money is on the next four years being pretty rough on the world and America along with it. It will, unfortunately, be a prize example of how the bankruptcy of the Democratic party is surpassed only by our annual deficits.