November 5, 2009

The Republican Long View - Part the first

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Elections, it can be argued, are about politics and personalities of the moment. When Obama promised change, that's what the country thought it wanted last year. Last Tuesday's elections, whether seen as a rebuke of Democrats or good local candidates, the election of Republican Governors in Virginia and New Jersey can be reasonably seen as a specific snapshot of a place, time and/or issue. By that logic comparing the performance of Corzine or Deeds to Obama one year earlier is to compare apples to oranges.

The thing is, both apples and oranges, while distinct are still fruit. And if you have enough fruit you can get enough of a picture to see if the fruit is generally healthy or rotten. In bother words these data points when combined start to become meaningful - you have a preponderance of evidence or a trend line.

Rightly, a politician is focused on his or her own immediate electoral prospects and has no wish to think about longer term political history or future prospects.

Short term thinking has been the bane of the American political system for decades. Short term thinking is typically unhealthy long term - whether it's in politics, business or personal lives. That is an essay in an of itself. The point is, that despite the negative impacts of short term thinking, it's almost impossible to avoid.

But somebody really needs to do it. It needs to be part of the equation for America. If you are conservative, let's take as a given that a conservative approach to political issues will provide for a safer, more egalitarian and more prosperous America for the purposes of further discussion. Let's also assume for now that Republican and conservative ideals/visions/views are aligned. If that's the case, then fixing America short term or long term requires Republican electoral victories.

Now let's look at some long term demographic trends and those who pontificate that conservatism is destined to ruin. They cite the shrinking demographics of white America. Beyond the inherent flaw in the logic that only white people are, or can be conservatives, there's an even factor at play in America and indeed the majority of western democracies. The population is aging. The baby boomers are set to start their retirements. What follows retirement is, well, death.

Birth rates have declined and the rate of population growth in western countries has slowed to a trickle when compared to the backdrop of human history. That means as baby boomers - to date the most liberal generation ever - start to shuffle off this mortal coil, there is an opportunity for the unintended yoke of their liberalism to be shed as well.

Don't get me wrong - there was misguided liberalism in the time of the greatest generation as well. FDR was of course the instigator of many liberal institutionalized sacred cows. And I don't mean to say that all baby boomers are liberal - far from it. But they were far more vocal and insistent than their conservative brethren. Hence they were the ones pushing everything from affirmative action to ebonics to eco-tripe. Where was the voice of conservative boomers to dispute those ideas? In fairness, that is more a conservative problem than a boomer problem.

I digress.

The disappearance of boomers over the next decades heralds both a threat and opportunity for conservatives. While conservatives can have a revolution just as radical Marxists did (think the American Revolution), it needn't come to that. Liberalism prior to the time of Obama was a slow, creeping doom that slowly has strangled off the lifeblood of America. But it can be changed back incrementally and more permanently than a revolution would allow, if you are willing to take the long view.

This is because certain truths are self evident - like inalienable rights endowed by the Creator (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness). If those are true then the only thing hampering liberty is ignorance. A nation united in the goal of individual liberty would never stand for a citizen being fined for not purchasing or accepting a government paid health care plan. It's an instance of the government telling you what to do and taking away your freedom to choose.

So what, in the long view can overcome the changing racial and age-related demographics vis-a-vis conservative (classical liberal) versus progressive views? One thing and one thing only. Education.

One word with truly massive implications. It affects political strategy, re-thinking immigration policy, media, political outreach, messaging, tax laws, government spending (discretionary and non-discretionary), political correctness, the judiciary, trade policy and a host of other things.

In future parts of this series, I will look at these implications individually and delve more into what I mean by education. At a high level though, what education means is educating Americans and possible future Americans, about the history of America, what the Constitution means and what conservatism really is and really means, as opposed to what liberals would have you believe about those on the right being an unholy host of bloodthirsty vampires.

Stay tuned for more.

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