For far too many Americans, politics can be summed up by “My party good. Your party bad.” Unfortunately, the people most likely to vote in America are those most likely to treat politics with the same dignity and philosophical rigor they treat professional sports. For this reason, the vast majority of elections end up being decided by which political party can provoke more of their blithering idiots into a voting booth.
Let’s not mince words here, both political parties know motivated moronic mediocrity is the key to electoral success, and the prisoner’s dilemma insures that if they don’t behave cynically, their opponents will, which is how we keep ending up with politicians that aren’t worth a damn. Unfortunately, distrust and suspicion are simply far more compelling to the average rube voter than reason and logic ever will be.
Why is this? Unfortunately, it’s a double whammy of human frailties. People are generally just plain stupid, and, even when they aren’t stupid, they are generally fantastically ignorant. Even voters who are technically above average intelligence work hard to know as little as possible about any relevant subject by refusing to even listen to any opinion that contradicts what they already think they know.
Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
– Ronald Reagan
Now, it’s crucial we take a moment to consider our political terminology, because it’s clear by this point that most people have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. While true of both sides of the philosophical divide, this ignorance is far more harmful to an insurgent conservative movement than it is to the progressive juggernaut, so, for the sake of simplicity, let’s focus on these two political ideologies.
Conservatism, the smaller of the two political philosophies, can be summed up in three basic values, each absolutely necessary to the philosophical framework: individualism, capitalism, and limited government. In brief, individualism is the belief that people are autonomous by virtue of being responsible for their own welfare, capitalism is a system of competitive exchange based on private property rights inherent to individualism, and the limited government can’t interfere in the marketplace.
Progressivism, the larger of the two political philosophies, can be summed up with three very different basic ideas: collectivism, socialism, and activist government. Again, in brief, collectivism is the belief that people cannot have autonomy and are responsible for each other’s welfare, socialism is system of socially managed exchange based on the fact of social interdependence and public welfare, and the activist government must interfere in the marketplace.
The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.
– Ronald Reagan
Even though Trump’s largely uneducated supporters sort of understand a conservative cannot support progressive policies, they apparently misunderstand that, when a conservative sees a problem in society, he will forgo a government solution and instead seek a market solution, whereas the progressive will immediately seek a government solution, regardless of what the market does.
For example, if foreign competition is hurting American industries, the conservative rolls up his sleeves and tries to become more competitive. The progressive, on the other hand, demands that the government actively imposes tariffs, creates subsidies, establishes import quotas, and changes tax codes to advantage domestic suppliers and disadvantage foreign competitors.
Once again, anyone that expects government to act must necessarily believe that individuals are responsible for each other’s welfare (not autonomous), believe a socially managed solution is necessary (not capitalist), and that government must interfere in the marketplace (not limited). Doesn’t this precisely describe the current Republican Party platform?
Sorry, Trump supporters, you’re not conservatives.
Liberty is For The Win!