Friday, August 12, 2005

Corruption of Power

I have been saying this for a while. David Boaz nails it down. I think the easy answer is that the Republicans have learned to act as a majority party. And, unfortunately, the members of that rank have discovered an affinity for power that far outweighs any of the principles that they ever held (or pretended to hold). To maintain and aggrandize power in Washington, one must do things. Promote thyself, make news, stick your nose in everything on the horizon, spend, spend, spend (read in: buy-votes). Yes, the Republicans have caught on to this "ruling" thing pretty well. Here is Boaz's take:

[George] Allen is hardly the only member of Congress who would be a great disappointment to the Founders. For years, Republicans argued that the Democratic majority in Congress was intruding the federal government into more and more matters best left to the states, the local communities, or the private sector. After 10 years in power, however, the Republicans have seen the Democrats' intrusiveness and raised them. The Republicans have pushed the feds further into the local schools with the No Child Left Behind Act and tried to take marriage law away from the states with the Federal Marriage Amendment. They overruled a series of Florida courts in the Terri Schiavo case, imposing the massive power of the federal government on a tragic family matter.

But it's not just these big-ticket items. Republicans have come down with a serious case of Potomac Fever. They believe that their every passing thought is a proper subject for federal legislation. They hold three-ring-circus hearings on steroids in baseball. They sharply increase the fines for alleged indecency on television. They hold hearings on whether college textbooks are too expensive. They threaten to punish Major League Baseball if the owners allow left-wing billionaire George Soros to be a part owner of the new team in Washington. They vote for a federal investigation of the video game "Grand Theft Auto."

I recently read an excellent article in The Economist that compared the GOP of today to the Goldwater conservatives of the past generation. This essay suggests that the "Goldwater-conservatives" (pro-states' rights, limited government, liberty-minded) have been largely marginalized in today's Republican Party by the religious-social conservatives. While I think that this statement is true, I do not believe that the ascendency of the social conservative is the cause of the Party's (d)evolution; rather, it is a result of the evolution. The cause of this radical change is what Nietzsche termed, "the Will to Power." The government is the end all, be all - the answer to all of our problems, the cure to all of our ills. This is the new Republican manifesto (a carbon copy of the New Deal/Great Society/Democractic platform) .
Since 1994, the Washington-gang has witnessed the scope of this power from the inside and, obviously, like what they have seen. So here is where the social conservatives come in. The social-cons provide an agenda, a medium, if you will, through which the powers-that-be can exercise their new-found love. A substantive means to attain ideological ends - the end of total power. Think about it, what good is an ideology of laissez-faire and deference to the states to a power-hungry man with the strength of the federal government at his disposal?


Post a Comment

<< Home