Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 645, November 20, 2011

"Someone used to say we have two political parties in
this country, the Evil Party and the Stupid Party."

Previous Previous Table of Contents Contents Next Next

Republican Party R.I.P. (1854-2012)
by L. Neil Smith

Bookmark and Share

Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

It pretty much agrees with my experience—as I'm confident it must agree with yours—that the collective intelligence of any given group may be accurately calculated by dividing the intelligence of the group's smartest individual member by the number of people in the group.

Everett Dirksen—or was it Sam Francis?—used to say we have two political parties in this country, the Evil Party and the Stupid Party. While it's hard to imagine the Democratic Party getting any more evil than it is right now, the Republican Party continues to get stupider with every passing year—or nanosecond, whichever comes first.

Why do those supposedly most concerned with individual liberty keep enabling mental and moral midgets like Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, when what they really want in office—and desperately need— is somebody like Ron Paul? Part of the reason is that for at least 70 years, and possibly even longer, certainly long before the advent of Libertarians, Greens, or even Dixiecrats, America has actually had a three party system, in which one of the three parties has largely been invisible.

I'm only going to take this back to slightly before my time, when a fellow named Robert Taft was considered the most powerful figure in the Senate. As a leader of the Republicans, and principal spokesman for what might be called rational conservatism (and what Wikipedia calls libertarianism), Taft was the son of former President William Howard Taft, and was thought by many to be headed for the White House, himself.

Taft was a bitter foe to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, believing—correctly—that the American economy, which had been severely damaged by government activity in the first place (chiefly the 1913 Federal Reserve Act—is this beginning to sound familiar?), would heal more quickly if government left it alone, instead of continuing to interfere with and damage it. As bad as Roosevelt's administration was for the country, Taft and his cohorts were able to contain it to a degree.

Taft was also a non-interventionist and did everything he could to keep America out of the European war, while Roosevelt's gang defamed him as an "isolationist" and attempted to imply the he was less than loyal. When the Japanese were egged into attacking Pearl Harbor, he shut up and stayed out of public view. But afterward, he opposed the Nuremberg Tribunals on principles correct, but too complex to go into here.

Taft ran for the Republican presidential nomination three times, in 1940, 1948, and 1950. Each time, although he was far and away the party's favorite, he was edged out through chicanery, propaganda, and parliamentary skullduggery by what we would call liberal Republicans, gutless, spineless, cojoneless creatures of low character who had bought into Roosevelt's New Deal or were afraid to try to roll back collectivism.

In 1940, Taft lost the nomination to that very model of a modern major corporatist, former Democrat Wendell Willkie (supported, oddly enough, by Ayn Rand and Frank O'Connor). In 1948, Taft was beaten once again by the liberal Republicans' darling Thomas E. Dewey, who became the laughingstock of the decade. In 1950, the nomination was snatched away a third time, by openly illegal means, and handed to another former Democrat, the smiling first Cold Warrior, General Dwight David Eisenhower.

And that's how things stood in the GOP for 14 years. It was no longer fashionable, Republicans were lectured by "older and wiser heads", for political parties to stand for anything in particular. What had once been ideological groups—most Republicans believed, however naively, that their party had been born to put an end to slavery—now became mere "broker parties" whose job it was, simply to get their candidate-clients elected, regardless of what philosophy they represented, or whether they represented any philosophy at all. Those who ran the campaigns were much happier if it were the latter. Whether you were a candidate or only a voter, your choice of political party was just as arbitrary and meaningless as your choice of sports teams.

That's what my political science professor said in my Freshman year.

Which happened to be 1964.

What my political science professor and other "older and wiser heads" hadn't reckoned on was the unquenchable thirst voters had begun to develop—in part because they were growing tired of endless foreign wars and being taxed half to death to pay for them and for the welfare state Roosevelt had given birth to—for candidates who atually stood for little things like peace, freedom, progress, and prosperity.

As a direct consequence, in one state after another, grassroots organizations had sprung up strongly in support of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who appeared to be reviving the political philosophy of Robert Taft. Democrats hated, loathed, and despised the man because he wanted to defend the country by making it strong and mostly staying out of other people's business. Goldwater wanted to shut down New Deal boondoggles like the Tennessee Valley Authority, whose hydroelectric dams—the generators had never been installed; I've seen the empty funnels with my own eyes—had never produced a single watt of electricity.

Goldwater's public popularity was a prophetic image of what the Tea Parties would eventually become. I look back now—I was at the Alabama state Republican Convention that gave him their nod, and in Denver, when he spoke to a solidly packed arena—and seem to see the same people, wearing AUH2O pins and talking up the candidate. I have never gotten over that heady feeling of excitement and, above all, hope.

So it came as a horrible surprise, a shock like having a bucket of Ice-water dashed in our faces, when the "older and wiser heads" of the Republican Party—most of them northeastern right-wing billionaire socialists like Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Cabot Lodge, "Weeping Willie" Scranton, and especially George Romney, the father of today's northeastern right-wing billionaire socialist Mitt Romney—did everything they could to oppose Goldwater's nomination. When he won it despite them, they went completely limp on him, leaving him to campaign all alone in the wilderness, preferring to see the vile and repulsive Lyndon Baines Johnson win the presidency, instead, mostly by portraying Goldwater as a murderous war-mongering finger-on-the-button lunatic.

Exactly the kind of President that Johnson himself became, soon afterward by escalating the Vietnam War. Any time I see Bill Moyers or hear his name (look him up) I have to resist the urge to spit on the floor.

In 1980, Republicans elected a man they believed was like Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater. I believe they're mistaken, but won't go into it here. Today, we have a real choice, and this is what it looks like:

With one and only one exception, every Republican presidential candidate is either stupid, crooked, insane, or a little of all three. And they all seem to be getting more stupid, more crooked, and more insane with every day that passes. None are any real threat to Barack Obama.

The one exception is doctor and Congressman Ron Paul. I have been severely critical of the good doctor in the past, and will doubtless continue to be in the future. He is mistaken on a couple of important issues. But he is also the only Republican candidate who understands what's wrong with this country, how to fix it, and is willing to do so.

People are fond of saying this is the most important election ever held in American history, and with the possible exception of 1860, I agree with them. But it's important for different reasons than many people suspect. Unless Republicans act more wisely than they ever have in my lifetime, if they fumble this election it will probably be their last, because that invisible third party I mentioned will cease to be invisible.

If Republicans nominate the candidate who wins or ties virtually every poll, raises more money than the rest, and has a decades-long record of standing for the principles of individual liberty on which this nation is supposedly based, the GOP could enjoy something of a renaissance.

That candidate, of course, is Ron Paul.

If, however, Republicans act as they always have, and slip their nomination to a cold greasy plate of yesterday's mashed potatoes, a left-leaning northeasterner who saddled the serfs of his state with his own version of medicalized Marxism, and (just like the remainder of his rivals for the nomination) exhibits no love whatever for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, then the spirit that backed Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater, the people of the Tea Parties, will give up on the Republicans, and create their own party, conceived in liberty.

I will certainly do everything I can to help them.

As to the Libertarian Party, after forty stupid, futile years, I have expended my last breath, and wasted my last keystroke trying to show them how to change the course of American—and therefore human—history.

They were never really interested, anyway.

Was that worth reading?
Then why not:


Big Head Press