Thursday, August 30, 2012

If The Republican Party Doesn’t Believe In Government, Why Does It Exist?

There’s a simple solution to the contradiction eating away at the heart of the GOP. Disband and secede to enclaves reserved exclusively for the extremely rich.

A Republican Enclave, recently
The Republican Party convention in Tampa this week has mined comical new depths of inane, conceptually bankrupt rhetoric, even by the already desperate standards set during George Bush’s government, which managed the impressive task of staying in power for eight years without passing a single act that genuinely improved life for the majority of people living in the United States. The folksy Florida theme of the week has been as simple as saying “Pray to God and all good things shall come to thee”. Speaker after speaker has claimed to come from ornery, humble roots, but thanks to hard work they ended up successful and, by proxy, stinking rich. And if everyone else just works as hard as these leading model Republicans, they’ll end up exactly the same, and America will be saved from the hardline socialists apparently rife throughout the Democratic Party (nope, I can’t name a single one either).

The contradiction at the core of what can barely be called a Republican ‘philosophy’ is that all this apparent success was achieved without help or handouts from the state (this in itself is a lie comprehensively nailed here by Charles Pierce). And yet, while denouncing big government, it wants to be the Party that governs all 50 states. How can that be done on a small scale? The answer, as all latter-day GOP administrations have discovered, is that it cannot. But there’s no need to let reality stop you posturing in the name of a phony but populist grassroots core belief.

In order to bring some genuine principle back to a Party so heartbreakingly starved of integrity, the Republicans should renounce its goal of being elected to political power and liquidate itself with immediate effect. In return for this magnanimous gesture, the
rest of the country could allocate to the Party certain enclaves (or they could be called, say, 'reservations'), where they could live behind high walls topped with barbed wire. They would have to pay no taxes to the US government. We would never have to see or hear from them again. Everyone’s a winner!

As the GOP so firmly believes in the virtues of a plutocratic society, let them have their own. Let The Rich Secede.

Their enclaves will be in those areas that will be the first to be affected by global warming – vulnerable coastal zones, or drought-ridden plains in the Midwest. They won’t mind, because they think global warming is liberal propaganda aimed at curbing unlimited consumerism. When the floods come, I’m sure the market will find a solution to clean up the mess or restore the eroded coastline. In case of drought, they can pray to God for rain. If they just have enough faith, God will surely open the skies.

In these enclaves, the former Republicans will live in the society they ardently wish for. With no gays, no minorities, no liberals (or anyone left of liberal), no poor people, no taxes, and lots of nice big churches. Let them air their unabridged prejudices at cocktail hour, standing out on the porch without having to worry about some piddling political correction of their unabashed bigotry.

They will fight the wars they crave in the Middle East, but without the help of the tax-financed US military. They will drive their gas-ravenous cars (built in factories belonging to firms that were not bailed out by US tax dollars) on the private roads that connect their mansions, but not on roads built with tax dollars. They will happily bank away without any Stalinistically imposed controls or regulations. Let them dispose of their own garbage, but not on our land. May they embrace free market solutions to the problem of finding gardeners, builders, waiters, shop workers and drivers in an enclave that has no place for the poor. Their women will disavow the need to be liberated. Without an education system, they’ll need to stay at home anyway to home-school the kids.

Will the rest of us survive without their wealth-creating trickle-down, or the condescension of the charitable donations they use to appease an occasionally troubled conscience (or pimp their tax returns)? I believe that we will. It’s a grand old myth that a democratic society can not function without a wealthy elite. And if anyone’s worried about a lack of opposition to the Democrats, it would only take one man or woman with a single good idea to overtake the Republican Party in terms of intellectual rigour.

Another belief system that doesn’t advocate a form of central government is anarchism. But anarchists have an alternative solution. Leadership by rote, with the consensus of the majority, and all tasks to be carried out in a cash-free economy by members of the community on the basis that we’re all equal, with a free and fair exchange of goods. That will seem like a pipe-dream to most, but it’s a system whose day may come sooner than we think in the post-catastrophe world that could well follow the next energy-cum-environmental crisis. For now, though, I somehow can’t see anarchism working in The Republican Enclaves. But I’d love to sit back with a cocktail on my porch and imagine them giving it a try.

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