Sunday, October 07, 2012

The impermanence of political labels

Paul Gottfried at Takimag.

Below: related, from Facebook. Probably meant to make fun of mainstream neocon Republicans, Tea Partiers (being used by the mainstream neocons but good-hearted; I don’t hate them to try to look cool) and strict constructionists (not the same as the mainstream GOP), but it makes interesting points, most of all that originally the Republicans obviously weren’t the natural party for us classical liberals/libertarians.
For those who are confused about what it traditionally meant to be a Republican, it included:

1. The spirituality of the Second Great Awakening, which stressed our duty to change the here and now through public education, improved care for the mentally ill, and voting rights for African Americans.

2. Investment in roads, canals, railroads, and state universities to build the economy and give more people access to the American dream, financed largely through government debt.

3. High tariffs to protect American industry, not shipping jobs abroad in the name of free trade.

4. A general horror of populism and a belief that it was necessary to disfranchise large numbers of Southern whites after the Civil War, since they were traitors to America.

For those of you want to condemn elitists, advocate the millennial beliefs of sects unknown to Americans before the 19th century, and who worry that secret cabals are undermining the republic and that brown and black people are trampling on the rights and privileges of real Americans, there is a traditional name for you: Jacksonian Democrat. Inconveniently, they no longer exist.

P.S. For those of you who take the rhetoric about getting back to the beliefs of the Founding Fathers seriously, the men among you should check to see whether they own enough property to have been allowed to vote in the early republic. Only about 60% of free, white men could vote at the time of the ratification of the Constitution. If you don’t own enough property, the Founders would want you to stay home on Election Day, trusting that your betters were handling things as Nature and Nature’s God intended. If you are a woman with traditional values and any amount of property, you should also stay home — it’s what the Founding Fathers wanted.

P.P.S. Five out of thirteen colonies didn’t allow Roman Catholics to vote. If you live in one of those states and are a Catholic who believes we should get back to the nation’s founding values, do stay home on Election Day. If you are a freedom-loving Catholic who lives in a state made up of land claimed by one of those colonies, you should also stay home. If you are a Catholic who lives in a state that was not part of the original colonies or land claimed by them, you should also stay home — you’ll be giving a powerful witness to your belief in the doctrine of strict construction.

P.P.P.S. Are you still so sure you like the sound of traditional American and Republican values?
Dano wrote a few posts ago:
As Rose Wilder Lane correctly pointed out, nobody has the inalienable natural right to vote. The question of who should be allowed to vote should never be governed by abstract, universal principles that are held to be true for all mankind and all of history – it depends on the conditions on the ground, and what is most conducive to the freedom and public order. Frankly, I would have objected to the 19th Amendment simply on federalist grounds – some states allowed women to vote before that time, and the 19th prohibited all other states from using their own local judgment in the matter.
So only landed gentlemen having the vote doesn’t offend me in principle.

1 comment:

  1. I rent; frankly, if the law were redrawn to allow only property-holders to vote, I wouldn't mind being personally disenfranchised, since I'm an outlier in a demographic that doesn't always have the soundest political judgment.

    "[T]here is a traditional name for you: Jacksonian Democrat. Inconveniently, they no longer exist."

    I've long considered myself a Bourbon Democrat, but since the Bryanites and Progressives routed them in the battle for control over the party, and FDR subsequently drove them and the rest of the traditional Democrats out, I am stuck in an unpleasant relationship with a maddeningly stupid GOP.

    Unwittingly, perhaps, the poster of the above actually does a lot of damage to the traditional self-conception of a lot of lefty Democrats. Ethnic Catholic voters are used to being lectured about how much their ancestors were discriminated against by evil conservative WASPs. Ignored is the fact that Catholics were considered suspect in large part because they were feared TOO conservative, and tended to vote along with the most staunchly anti-progressive elements in American politics- Catholic lawyer and Presidential candidate Charles O'Conor, for example, proudly served as Jefferson Davis' defense attorney. When the Dems lurched leftward, some adapted their values to suit their party (JFK), and some adapted their party to suit their values (Pat Buchanan, whose parents were Al Smith Democrats), but there was NEVER a time when Catholic voters in America tiled "Progressive" as a bloc.


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