Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On Jonathan Krohn and CPAC

On Jonathan Krohn: You can make a parrot repeat what you want it to say and it will come across charming. I sincerely doubt this kid has a single independent thought; he's likely been brought up in a very conservative home, watching Fox News and hearing his dad and possibly his mom go on about how great it is to have money and be a Republican. He's likely not dealt with many of the social woes that society has to offer because he's been underexposed.

Honestly, I do not really understand the message the Republicans are trying to send here. I can think of two. Either one, they are trying to say that even a thirteen year old realizes that conservatism trumps liberalism, thereby saying that all the liberals are dumber than a thirteen year old. Or two, and this is likely NOT what they are attempting, that their principles are so SIMPLE that even a thirteen year old can grasp them. I have often thought that the problem with the present day Republicans is that they resort to one-liners ("Drill Here, Drill Now") and knee jerk reactions ("If we let gays marry, who's to stop someone from marrying a goat?"), effectively oversimplifying often complex problems/issues.

Perhaps it's a matter of perspective. Getting back to Jonathan Krohn's underexposure, maybe it is an issue that some of these people do not know any better. For instance, maybe they have only ever seen downtown Baltimore on the news or as they race through the "bad parts" of the city to get from the Inner Harbor back to Owings Mills, Towson, or White Marsh. They live in their bubble and expect that everyone else can easily do what they have done and live the way they live and it's just that simple. Like Kriss over at the Insanity Report suggests in a related article on CPAC, it's possible to be a socially liberal, fiscal conservative; that's what the GOP USED to be before the Reagan Revolution. When they talked about smaller government, they meant they were not going to use the government to invade your private life and tell you how to live. If the current lot of Republicans are the defenders of the Constitution they say they are, they would uphold the aspect of "Freedom of Religion" in the First Amendment that clearly implies you are free to practice whatever religion you want, even if that means no religion at all. Thomas Jefferson wrote an additional commentary (in a letter I believe) that discussed the "separation of church and state," that I believe provides justification that "Freedom of Religion" can also mean "Freedom from Religion."

The current Republicans call for theocratic rule out of one side of their mouth while advocating for smaller and smaller government. Well, if the Republicans can successfully negotiate the criminalization of abortion, how do they intend to enforce it? If they successfully make gay marriage illegal, are they going to stick to their States' Rights guns when "liberal" states allow them through referendum or legislative votes? Quite a bit of money is already poured into federal oversight of States' Rights they disagree with; the DEA comes in and punishes people for smoking marijuana when the State of California says it's OK. So, it is a message of smaller government only when it agrees with their world-view, otherwise we can build up huge budgets to other government institutions that enforce the rules they want to see enforced. Just as long as they are not helping poor people or taxing the wealthy at reasonable rates. Deficit spending is deficit spending anyway you look at it, regardless of whether the money is going to beef up the DHS or going towards more "welfare" programs.

Luckily, not all Republicans are THAT wacky. While I may not agree with him ALL of the time, I have a great deal of respect for Ron Paul in sticking to his old school GOP, pseudo-libertarian ways. He generally appeals more realistically to common-sense rather than touchy-feely emotions surrounding the issues related to morality. I could agree with him a lot more if I did not think that people in the position to have a lot of money and power will not try to keep that money and power at all costs. For better or worse, the drivers of a capitilistic economy are greed and envy - "keeping up with the Joneses". I also believe that from the bottom to the top, it is a natural instinct for people to get the most they can doing the least amount of work necessary, so I find it hard to believe all of the folks at "the top" who claim to have worked "so hard" for what they have. Not to belittle the efforts of those who have truly worked hard, but "working hard" is a matter of perspective, and I have often found that there is a wide variety of views on "hard work" in the eye of the beholder. Think about it next time when you hear a co-worker or friend complain about what they have to do.

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