4 Jan

19th century slavery created the GOP, will 21st century slavery be its demise? [Reader Post]

                                       

Will 2012 bring an end to the Republican Party? It would only be fitting that a party formed almost 160 years ago on the basis of stopping the expansion of slavery would be destroyed by its support of the modern day expansion of slavery of a different sort.

That is exactly where we stand. The GOP was formed in 1854 in reaction to the passage of the Kansas Nebraska Act which essentially opened up the West to the expansion of slavery. Many Northerners understood that mostly poor free men and could not compete with giant Southern landowners who employed slave labor. The Kansas Nebraska Act heralded the end of the delicate balance between slave and free states that had largely been in place since the ratification of the Constitution in 1788. Slave states already having disproportionate congressional power, the Kansas Nebraska Act would provide the foundation them to gain significantly more economic power to grow as well.

Drawing its membership from the remains of the Whig Party and the anti-slavery wing of the Democratic Party, the GOP’s first candidate for President, California’s John C. Frémont lost. Their second candidate however did somewhat better: Abraham Lincoln.

Fast forward and the party ended slavery (and passed the civil and voting rights acts a century later) has become a party of modern slavery in the form of big government. Although the Democrats have traditionally been the party of big government, today they share that label with a vapid GOP.

2012 is the best opportunity Americans have had in 30 years to attempt to throw off the yoke of government tyranny. In the wake of the 2010 elections when the GOP not only won an historic victory in the House, but in the Senate such small government candidates as Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee prevailed, one would think that the party understood where the future of success with the American people lay. Unfortunately however that does not seem to be the case.

On a national scale the Republican Party cannot seem to understand its place in this historic moment in time. In 2012 the slavery that Americans face at the hands of the federal government is clear:

  • A tax code where half the population pays no income taxes and more than a third receive government subsidies. (This is at its core a massive and growing redistribution of wealth from wealth creators to wealth consumers.)
  • A federal spending binge that has more than doubled in the last two decades, consequently distorting capital markets and destroying free market solutions.
  • A nanny state that stymies a citizen’s right to live his life as he chooses and do with his property what he chooses. (Federal laws and regulations are so numerous and complex that the ABA and other organizations who have attempted to catalog them have repeatedly failed. Says one researcher: “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime“)
  • A regulatory nightmare that grows darker each day for entrepreneurs and businesses who are inclined to try and start or grow businesses to meet the desires of markets or consumers.
  • An unrelenting growth in legislative and regulatory distortion of free markets to favor the politically connected.

Not the kind of slavery that was the catalyst for the formation of the GOP, but slavery nonetheless. And the party has been complicit in much of what brought us to this point.

In the face of such oppression, rather than offer voters a slate of candidates who are competing on the basis of who will make greater cuts in government spending, who is most willing to eliminate unnecessary and unconstitutional departments and agencies, who will do more to reduce regulation and who will allow citizens to keep the greatest share of their incomes, the Grand Old Party has as its frontrunner a big government, crony capitalist who is not beyond playing the wealth envy card. Nowhere in the GOP field is there a candidate who vows to cut government spending to what it was two decades ago. Nowhere in the GOP field is there a candidate who vows wage war on government regulation.

In 1980, when Americans saw all too clearly the consequences of an unabashedly progressive agenda, the GOP responded (despite the wishes of party insiders) with Ronald Reagan, a man who was not afraid to clearly articulate that government was the problem and that it must be restrained and cut – remember he promised to shutter the Education and Energy departments, only to be stymied by a Democrat controlled Congress.

Today, 30 years later, when federal spending has increased by 500%, when government regulation is exponentially more intrusive, when half of the population is relieved of paying for the operations of government, the GOP field is populated by big government advocates or those who want to simply trim around the edges and rearrange deckchairs on the Titanic.

A GOP victory in 2012 with a lukewarm conservative who is happy to simply slow the rate of increase in government spending and to tentatively trim government regulations will be a defeat for the American people. The country will become Greece or Italy… only more slowly. A better outcome for the country might be another four years of Barack Obama. At least by 2016, assuming the country hasn’t collapsed by then, a party might emerge that will finally present the American people with a real choice between slavery and freedom. At the end of the day I’ll likely be voting for Mickey Mouse or whoever the GOP puts at the top of the ticket. It would be nice however for someone to make the case that a government half the size of today’s is likely still too big and too intrusive.

About Vince

The product of a military family, growing up in Naples, Italy and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and being stationed in Germany for two years while in the Army, Vince spent half of his first quarter century seeing the US from outside of its own borders. That perspective, along with a French wife and two decades as a struggling entrepreneur have only fueled an appreciation for freedom and the fundamental greatness of the gifts our forefathers left us.
This entry was posted in Conservatism, Economy, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 at 6:00 am
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20 Responses to 19th century slavery created the GOP, will 21st century slavery be its demise? [Reader Post]

  1. Liberal1 (objectivity) says: 1

    Neither Abraham Lincoln nor Ronald Reagan would recognize the modern Republican Party.

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  2. Mike Henkins says: 2

    Neither Abraham Lincoln nor Ronald Reagan would recognize the modern Republican Party.

    Oh yeah and like JFK isn’t rolling in his grave looking up at the current crop of Democrats and their leadership.

    Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

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  3. Donald Bly says: 4

    JFK would be viewed as a conservative republican today.

    I’m supporting Newt Gingrich 2012… no more fence sitting.

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  4. The Old Coach says: 5

    We know that Obama’s mission (which he decided to accept), is to eliminate the power of of the ballot box altogether. What worries me is that, if Willard gets elected, the same thing will happen. No matter who or what is running Government by 2014, the debt crisis will have strangled the economy, and Willard, being a tool of the Vampire Squid, will exacerbate it all by protecting the banking powers that led us to this mess in the first place. To accomplish that, he will have to suppress the screams of the millions and millions of working and middle class people in this country who will be past the point of revolt. Forcible repression of demonstrations and riots will go hand in hand with political repression of the entire country. Bottom line? The appearance of “parties” will survive, just as the appearance of the Senate survived under the Roman Emperors, but the substance will be gone. It won’t matter a hill of beans whether there’s a Republican Party or not.

    If someone other than Willard gets the R party nomination, [i]and[/i] wins with long coat-tails, the nation may have a chance to step back from the brink.

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  5. Nan G says: 6

    Many great points, Vince.

    Last night, as the returns were so slow in coming in, many pundits were brought in to fill the time.

    Charles Krauthammer noted that Mitt Romney might merely preside over the end-stage rot of this binge-spending government.
    Charles could not imagine Romney standing firm when the Left and its media lap dogs dredge up never-ending sob stories if ever a REAL cut in government spending were tried.
    He said we’d be lucky if Romney would stand firm even in cutting the RATE of GROWTH of government spending.

    One of the other pundits (I can’t recall who) pointed out that even Paul Ryan couldn’t buck the trend of merely slowing the rate of gov’t growth as opposed to really cutting the federal budget.

    Unless the government budget is actually cut, not merely its rate of growth slowed, there is no hope for turning this economy from this weak recovery into a robust one.

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  6. William says: 7

    Vince, you claim that there is no GOP candidate vowing to reduce the size of the government, or their spending, etc. I know that Ron Paul has been saying those things for years. I agree that he has some kooky ideas on other topics, but for my money, I’m voting for Ron Paul or not at all.

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  7. anticsrocks says: 8

    A better outcome for the country might be another four years of Barack Obama. At least by 2016, assuming the country hasn’t collapsed by then, a party might emerge that will finally present the American people with a real choice between slavery and freedom

    A chance I’m not willing to take.

    However, that being said, you bring up some valid and interesting points in your OP. No matter who the GOP nominee is, once elected he will have a tough time cutting ANY part of the budget. The Dems will have to brought to the table kicking and screaming, as will the establishment Repubs.

    But then again, we have to start somewhere. It has taken 100 years of the progressive agenda to get us where we are today, it will take quite a few to get us back on track, much less back to where we ought to be.

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  8. anticsrocks says: 9

    @Liberal1 (objectivity): I think that for the first time, we might just agree on this one point.

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  9. Westie says: 10

    Vince I’ve been thinking the end of the Republican party is coming. Maybe it’s time to rethink the manufactured history regarding any ‘small government’ Republicans. I think Lincoln was a cog in the Whig Party, the Party of the Crony Mercantilist and not necessarily anti-slavery. This Whig Party was so crooked it became toxic and started failing. Like all smart politicians/crooks they joined/formed the ‘Republican’ party…..it may be time to look at more than the schoolbook history of the Republicans and Abraham Lincoln…the ‘great emaciator’.
    I’ve been saying another Big Guvvy Republican POTUS will finish off the GOP/Whigs and it may just be time!

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  10. openid.aol.com/runnswim says: 11

    The American Dream is more alive today in the liberal democracies of Europe than in the USA.

    Trickle down doesn’t work. It’s never worked in history, and it sure isn’t working now. The American Dream was alive and well in the days of high marginal tax rates and high inheritance taxes. Now we are well on our way to having a to-the-manor-born, permanent class system.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/us/harder-for-americans-to-rise-from-lower-rungs.html?_r=1&google_editors_picks=true

    At least five large studies in recent years have found the United States to be less mobile than comparable nations. A project led by Markus Jantti, an economist at a Swedish university, found that 42 percent of American men raised in the bottom fifth of incomes stay there as adults. That shows a level of persistent disadvantage much higher than in Denmark (25 percent) and Britain (30 percent) — a country famous for its class constraints.

    Meanwhile, just 8 percent of American men at the bottom rose to the top fifth. That compares with 12 percent of the British and 14 percent of the Danes.

    Despite frequent references to the United States as a classless society, about 62 percent of Americans (male and female) raised in the top fifth of incomes stay in the top two-fifths, according to research by the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Similarly, 65 percent born in the bottom fifth stay in the bottom two-fifths.

    And:

    Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a Republican candidate for president, warned this fall that movement “up into the middle income is actually greater, the mobility in Europe, than it is in America.” National Review, a conservative thought leader, wrote that “most Western European and English-speaking nations have higher rates of mobility.”

    It’s not “class warfare” to require wealthy citizens of a democracy to pay higher tax rates; the rich should pay more, because the rich owe more to government for their success. It’s not “class warfare” to wish to return to the tax structure of the 1990s.

    This particular thread ups the ante on the “class warfare” rhetoric. Progressive taxation is not only “class warfare,” it’s a component of “slavery.”

    I’d love to see a “true conservative” actually run on this sort of rhetoric. If American voters really understood how “true conservatives” really think, they’d be scared to death. It’s a huge mistake to view Obama’s perceived unpopularity as an endorsement of “true conservative” principles. Were the GOP to sweep the election in 2012 and actually proceed to do what is advocated on this blog, Obama would be the second President in history to serve two non-consecutive terms.

    [Trivia question -- no fair looking it up -- who was the first and so far only President to serve two non-consecutive terms?]

    P.S. The comparison between Federal Spending and “inflation rate” is ludicrous. It wouldn’t even make sense were the population to be absolutely unchanged — which is isn’t.

    http://media.treehugger.com/assets/images/2011/10/population-density-us2.jpg

    Here’s a metric which actually makes some sense:

    http://seahorseadvisers.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/fed-spending-and-revs-as-a-percent-of-gdp.jpg

    What does this show? We have BOTH a spending problem AND a revenue problem. That’s why all the independent and bipartisan commissions recommend a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. But the “true conservatives” are more interested in fostering the to-the-manor-born society than in improving the nation’s economic future and solving the deficit problem.

    - Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

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  11. William says: 12

    Easy peasy: Grover Cleveland. And no, I didn’t look it up. :P

    Follow-up trivia: Who was the President in between his terms? :)

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  12. openid.aol.com/runnswim says: 13

    Great follow-up question, William (I had to look it up). – LW/HB

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  13. Mike Henkins says: 14

    What does this show? We have BOTH a spending problem AND a revenue problem.

    *Face Palm*

    Liberal Economics 101

    Hunny, I want to go to Vegas and blow my paycheck on hookers and slot machines!
    Huh?
    The electric bill? No I didn’t pay it. We didn’t have enough money for that.

    Keynes was Hayeks biatch!

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  14. Nan G says: 15

    @openid.aol.com/runnswim: This particular thread ups the ante on the “class warfare” rhetoric. Progressive taxation is not only “class warfare,” it’s a component of “slavery.”

    Yup, it does.
    But maybe it isn’t just direct progressive taxation that leads to slavery so much as the unintended consequences of it.
    http://wimp.com/countryscience/
    Neil deGrasse Tyson: Which country is doing the most science today?
    This video is about the amounts of peer-reviewed science being done in various countries.
    It uses maps that expand/contract each country’s size according to this issue.
    Uh oh.
    The USA is falling far behind in producing research.
    How can we pull our people up on the research being done elsewhere?
    We can’t.
    Make sure you watch past the 2:40 point when the last 10 year’s published work reconfigures to a shocking new arrangement.

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  15. openid.aol.com/runnswim says: 16

    Hi Nan (#15): Excellent comment (save for the slavery part of it, but, just as you’ve got to let Red States be red and Blue States be blue, you’ve got to let Red people be red and Blue people be blue).

    I’m made the following observation on this blog, several times. China has 10 times the number of students in graduate science and engineering programs than we have. This is very obvious to me, both in the peer review medical literature in my own field and by important presentations at large science meetings. The USA used to dominate. Young scientists came here to train. A lot of them who trained here, stayed here, and became important university professors and founded biotech and tech companies. We’ve got twice as many people majoring in psychology as majoring in engineering. We still dominate when it comes to economics (the dismal science), but those economists tend to come up with research and ideas that conservatives instantly reject — so what’s the point?

    A European or Chinese or Japanese can go to the best universities and get science, engineering, or medical degrees without going into debt. Not at all the way it is here.

    We are all into investments and banking and service sector and sales and marketing and psychological counseling. Also law. Why on earth someone would waste a hundred grand on a humanities or social science degree is something I can’t understand. You can learn that stuff on your own, if that’s what you’d like. Science and engineering are hard, and people don’t want to make it hard on themselves.

    But what really creates national wealth is not money churning; it’s technical innovation. We used to be kings. China is going to kick our butts.

    We need a sort of Manhattan project for science and engineering education. We had some of this in the late 1950s and 60s, when the country panicked because Vanguard exploded on the launch pad and Sputnik orbited the earth. Then the Soviets beat us to manned orbit. But we then got our butts in gear; the success of the space program led Richard Nixon to declare War on Cancer (big government program — heavy on the sort of basic research which private industry won’t invest in), and this launched the biotech industry, at which the USA is still clinging to the world lead.

    South Korea is going to have everyone in their country connected together at a 1 GB/S Internet speed by 2012. European and Asian Internet and mobile phone service puts ours to shame. In the USA, we have all these redundant cables and cell phone towers. We need faster cables and more cell phone towers, shared by the different Internet and wireless providers. More and faster, not wasting all those resources on mere duplication (actually quadruplication). But this requires (shudder) the heavy hand of government regulation, otherwise known as “slavery.”

    We need to invest — big time — in science infrastructure, beginning with education. Bigger government; not smaller. Big government science (support-wise) will always kick the butts of private industry, because the later won’t gamble on basic research, which is what produces most of the breakthroughs.

    This means higher taxes.

    - Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

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  16. Nan G says: 17

    @openid.aol.com/runnswim:

    Larry, you would positively love this book!
    How Economics Shapes Science by Georgia State University economist Paula Stephan.
    http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?recid=31302

    Part of a review that led me to order it:

    The troubles plaguing academic science — including fierce competition for funding, dismal career opportunities for young scientists, overdependence on soft money, excessive time spent applying for grants, and many more — do not arise, Stephan suggests, from a shortage of funds. In 2009, she notes, the United States spent nearly $55 billion on university- and medical school–based research and development, far more than any other nation.

    The problems arise, Stephan argues, from how that money is allocated: who gets to spend it, where, and on what.
    The United States structures university-based research around short-term competitive grants to faculty members.

    >>>>“The system … discourages faculty from pursuing research with uncertain outcomes,” which may endanger future grants or renewals. This peril is “particularly acute for those on soft money.” Experimental timidity produces “little chance that transformative research will occur and that the economy will reap significant returns from investments in research and development.”<<<<

    Although one topflight report described this setup as “ ‘incredibly successful’ from the perspective of faculty,” Stephan observes, “it is the Ph.D. students and postdocs who are bearing the cost of the system — and the U.S. taxpayers — not the principal investigators.” Undergraduates also carry an increasing share of the load, she adds: Their tuition, often paid with student loans, rises as more funds go to research. Their teachers, meanwhile, increasingly are cut-rate adjuncts rather than the famous professors the recruiting brochures boast about.

    Unsurprisingly, Stephan’s proposed solutions differ from those of the blue-ribbon panels.

    She focuses not on the need to grow budgets or aggrandize institutions but on the need to increase what economists call efficiency, allocating scarce resources — in this case, taxpayer money and the talents and time of the nation’s able young people — to produce the highest return in desired goods: transformative science and sustainable, transformative science careers.

    Stephan also wants more attention paid to the potential advantages and disadvantages of funding systems that support researchers over time, as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has done with great success, rather than for specific, short-term projects.

    One of many questions she answers:

    What incentives encourage universities to import increasing numbers of foreign students and postdocs — and to insist that there are shortages of both — while a growing surplus of native-born scientists struggle to find jobs that allow them to pay off student loans?

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  17. openid.aol.com/runnswim says: 18

    Hi Nan:

    Experimental timidity produces “little chance that transformative research will occur and that the economy will reap significant returns from investments in research and development.”

    Wonderful quote. Totally nails it. I’ll comment later; gotta car pool home now.

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  18. openid.aol.com/runnswim says: 19

    Hi Nan. Let me expand a little. Your last article really nailed it.

    A really big problem with academic research (in all science disciplines) has to do with the distinction between “investigators” and “discoverers.” Investigators play it safe. They take a particular problem which has already had a goodly amount of exploratory work, to confirm that it’s really worthwhile studying, and then they write up a grant request to fund a project to incrementally advance progress — a so-called single step advance.

    This type of work is nice (and dare I say “conservative”) and has a high chance of succeeding. The people who sit on peer review panels are all investigator-type scientists themselves. So they tend to look favorably at these investigator-type projects.

    Discoverers, on the other hand, are risk takers. They often appear to be disorganized. They don’t map out a clear path from start to finish because, owing to the nature of “discovery,” they really don’t know where they will end up. More often than not, this type of research fails. But when it succeeds, it provides a multi-step advance and creates entirely new paradigms.

    It’s impossible and I mean impossible to get a grant these days to do discovery type research. Well, in the case of an established scientist, with a great reputation, there is the possibility of getting something like a MacArthur genius award. But discovery-type scientists don’t get the opportunity to develop great reputations, because they don’t get funded.

    The one big advantage that American science used to have is the fact that not everyone had a herd mentality. This was a bigger problem in Europe and especially in Asia. I don’t think that they do great discovery type research in China. There’s too much of a societal pressure to conform.

    But we (in the USA) are losing our innovation advantage, as the peer-review system becomes the personal playground of investigators, who won’t give discoverers the support and freedom they need to discover. And this doesn’t happen too much in private sector biotech, either. Bell labs was legendary for basic research. I don’t know of a Bell labs equivalent in biological sciences. There’s a lot of support for applied technology, but not for permitting a creative scientist to spend years chasing rainbows.

    Discovery research is like a 3 point field goal in basketball. Above average failure rate, but a bonus for success. We need to find a way to support 3 point shooters in science.

    - Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

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  19. Greg J says: 20

    Its not called the Party of Stupid nowdays for nothing. The republican leadershit couldn’t find their asses with both hands, a map, and a GPS.

    ReplyReply

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