Friday, January 31, 2014

Political Auto-Da-Fe

Many commentators at many times have noted the Republican Party's penchant for "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory." With the emergence of these "conservative principles" for "immigration reform," it would appear that that penchant is in the GOP's saddle once again.

A country under siege by illegal aliens has an obvious first-priority need: border enforcement. To advance any other idea than that is a disservice to the nation...but what have we here?

Youth

One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own, those who know no other place as home. For those who meet certain eligibility standards, and serve honorably in our military or attain a college degree, we will do just that.

Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law

Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law. There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws – that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law. Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program. Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.

These "principles," which are nothing of the sort -- and where on Earth did anyone get the idea that "children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents" was "one of the great founding principles of our country?" -- create two impressions above all else:

  • The GOP leadership deems it important to pander to illegal aliens and the foreign powers that send them here...
  • ...but is willing to pay only lip service to the continuous, strident demands from the great majority of Americans for an end to the flood of illegals.

Any scheme that offers the prospect of legal status within our borders for an illegal alien will create incentives for more illegals to wetback those borders. The special solicitude the document shows to juvenile illegals will increase the incentives for families of illegals to immigrate in a body. This is kindergarten stuff. The infamous 1986 amnesty bill should have established it beyond all dispute. Yet here we have "conservatives" promulgating "conservative" principles that will have exactly that effect.

No politician who backs any such scheme has the best interests of the United States at heart. The kindest thing one could validly say about him is that he might not be in the pay of some pro-illegal-immigration special interest. An official under that sort of cloud should be drummed out of office, if not tarred, feathered, and ridden out of D.C. on a rail.

But wait: there's more! As I understand it, the idea of a political party is to win elections. Given that the public is massively concerned about the flood of illegals and passionately wants to see it stanched, a scheme that openly encourages further illegal entry is a clear demand for electoral defeat. The idea of a party oriented toward losing elections is internally contradictory. But perhaps there are subtleties and involutions to this new emission from Boehner & Co. that my 200-plus IQ renders me inherently incapable of grasping.


There have been suggestions, from intelligent and respectable commentators, that for any pro-freedom movement to have a chance of success, the Republican Party as it stands must be eliminated. Hearken to T. L. Davis on the subject:

We are all immigrants, but the nature of immigration has changed; the purpose of immigration has changed. It doesn't matter where a particular immigrant comes from, because there is no inherent value to any race. We are all humans with all the same failings and blessings. What has changed about immigration is not who immigrates, but why.

Without the supporting values of what made America great, it cannot succeed in the future. It needs humans of all sorts, but with particular ideas of what America is and why it is such. Without that there is no continuity to society, there is no common understanding of values and there is no possibility of survival. It was the ruin of Rome and it will be our ruin as well.

To avert that ruin drastic measures must be taken and the election of 2014 is the time. No, I am not suggesting we "vote our way out" of this, that is an impossibility. 2014 is a time for the first salvo in our rebellion against the revolution that has taken place under the very eyes and ears of our people. It is the first step in the counter-revolution.

The first thing that has to go is the Republican Party. The Republicans have no loyalty to the Constitution, or they would not have allowed Obama to go so far down the dictatorial road he has traveled since his inauguration. They would not tolerate a president threatening them with a pen, or a phone. Somewhere they had to stand up for the Constitution and use its powers to rid this nation of such a tyrant, but they would not take the risk to their political lives and to that end have proved that they do not have the values on which this nation was founded and do not deserve to sit in the halls of power.

The core thesis here requires a bit of elucidation, to wit: To the extent that the GOP's major figures spout lip service to pro-freedom ideals but legitimize a tyrannical ruling party by failing to oppose them with all available forces, they are collaborating with the enemies of freedom. They have betrayed their oaths of office and have no more claim to a seat in the chambers of power than you or I.

In that view, the Republicans are worse than the Democrats, who are at least open about their disdain for freedom, the Constitution, and the good of the nation. They present the nation with the semblance of a principled opposition party while helping to destroy what remains of individuals' rights and the Constitution's constraints and straining to prevent the emergence of any alternative political force that might do some good.

From that perspective, there is little chance that such traitors can be deposed and replaced with good men as long as they have the resources and legal privileges of the Republican Party behind them. At any suggestion of a credible threat to their positions, the Democrats would rally behind them. The appearance of a loyal opposition is indispensable to a tyranny in the saddle. Without such a mirage, the Democrats would be revealed for what they are: the masters of a one-party State.

The above assessment carries some weight with me. I'm not completely convinced, but the ideas are at least plausible and consistent with the behavior of most of the preeminent Republicans in Congress. However, there's an alternative explanation, which deserves some attention.

The typical federal officeholder is massively reluctant to surrender his power and perquisites. In many cases, public office is the only career he knows; he would be unable to support himself if compelled to return to private life. That makes his foremost personal priority the retention of his office. (Most such persons will concede, at least when not "under the influence," that they have no serious prospect of rising any higher than they already are.)

We know from Public Choice theory that concentrated priorities trump diffuse ones -- that personal priorities nearly always have more power over a man's decisions than organizational priorities or abstract ideals. Indeed, that's why we have the concept of a hero, for a hero is distinguished from others by his open, behaviorally confirmed elevation of some other priority above his own interests and concerns.

Heroes are rare. There aren't many in Congress.

An unheroic officeholder will therefore look first and foremost to the retention of his office. All other priorities will bow to that one. He'll become adept at rationalizing his defaults and betrayals of principle:

  • "I can't do anything about our goals if I lose the election."
  • "My primary opponent is too extreme to stand a chance in the general election."
  • "If we don't give the Democrats at least this much, they'll propose something far worse."

...and so forth. He might even be sincere, at some level. But that, of course, doesn't redeem his traductions of the nation he has sworn to serve, and whose Constitution he has pledged to obey and protect.


There is no conclusive way to determine which of the above assessments of our political situation is more correct -- i.e., a better description of the critical dynamic and therefore a better guide to what freedom lovers must do. However, the pusillanimous, self-contradictory behavior of highly placed Republicans in recent years is perfectly in line with one foreseeable outcome: the reduction of their party to enduring, if not permanent, minority status.

There are some Republicans who urgently require removal from office.
There are others who should be supported for as long as their behavior remains consistent with pro-freedom, pro-Constitution goals.
There are a number that need a good solid kick in the ass. Here the problem is most difficult, for our electoral system does not offer a clear way to deliver one.

Whether the Republican Party as an organization can be salvaged depends on how effective American patriots are at delivering on those three desiderata. We haven't done well at it...so far.

Remember: no matter how badly politics and political systems might let us down, there is always at least one alternative.

Food for thought.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"There are some Republicans who urgently require removal from office."

On reading that sentence, the thought flashed into my mind: "Coming soon on the Outdoor Channel, the new reality TV series -- Sarah Palin, RINO Hunter!"

Why yes, I am heavily medicated following a medical procedure; how did you know?

Anonymous said...

Just burn down the whole thing. The Mafia is looking mighty honest to me compared to our government.

RobertW said...

I agree that retaining the perks and power is the number one motivator for the Republican leadership. The mystery then is why support policies that almost guarantee that Republicans win fewer and fewer elections. Maybe you are right - people like Boehner (just to name one) may be needed just to privide the illusion of an opposition party. Maybe the Republican leadership (who hate conservatives more than the Democrats do) figure their positions are safe for that reason: hell, Obama would probably go out and campaign for Boehner and the "opposition leaders" if it came to that.