Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Why am I a Republican?

When I tell people that I'm a Republican and that I'm active in a UU church, I generally hear 2 questions:
  • From UUs: How can you possibly be a thoughtless, greedy Republican and yet be an active member of a UU church?
  • From Republicans and non-UUs: What the hell is Unitarian-Universalism?

Today, I want to answer the first question. Here we go:

Economics - Even when I was a Democrat (birth to age 30), I generally agreed with free-trade capitalist Republicans versus protectionist-leaning, socialist-coddling Democrats. As nice as it sounds that we should divert the wages of the rich to bring the poor up to middle-class standards of living, it doesn't work. When the government gets too entangled with commerce (whether though excessive taxation, regulation or state-owned enterprises), history has shown that those governments have to start controlling other aspects of citizens' lives in order to get the economic outcomes they desire. Corporations, along with organized religions, also prove to be useful counter-balances against too much government power.

Republicans certainly don't always side with free-market capitalism (I was strongly opposed to the steel tariffs that W pushed though in his first term), but they are head and shoulders above the socialist legislation that the union-dues addicted Democrats would pass if they had control of the government.

Race Relations - Yes, that's right, I believe the Republican party is taking a better approach to race relations than the Democrats. In the past, I believe liberals (I cannot say Democrats due to the despicable behavior of Southern Democrats during the civil rights struggles of the 50's and 60's) had the higher moral ground on matters of race. Additionally, I would credit these social liberals with the dramatic transformation of our society in the last 50 years. That being said, I believe a new approach is needed now that truly racist behavior (i.e. conscious decisions to denigrate someone based on their race) is largely isolated to small pockets of stupidity.

Today, Republicans preach, and largely practice, the idea of meritocracy (i.e. Dr. King's idea that people should be judged by the content of their character) versus the Democrats tendency to confuse unequal outcomes (a fact of life in a free society) with unequal opportunity (racism). Additionally, African-American Democratic leaders have acted so hurtfully and negatively toward fellow African Americans that have chosen to be active Republicans. Claiming that Rice and Powell are 'house slaves' (Belafonte) and throwing oreos at Ohio Republican Michael Steele are indicative of the fear that African Americans may not be a solid Democratic voting block and, god forbid, some may even find an ideological home in the Republican party. Even in the blogging world, Republicans who happen to be minorities, get chastised by left leaning bloggers as being stooges who have been tricked by evil Republicans into selling-out their race (eg. attacks against Michelle Mallkin).

Is Trent Lott an idiot? Yes. Are Republicans hatching a secret plot to keep minorities in the under-classes? Absolutely not. I would argue that the welfare state (which financially supports a culture of teen mothers with disinterested fathers) is the single biggest inhibitor to minority success in America.

National Defense - I remember commenting to one of my most conservative friends on September 12th, 2001 that, although I voted for Gore, I was glad Republicans were running the government. I hadn't always felt this way. I remember thinking in my youth that Reagan's constant jousting with the Soviet Union was unwise and that fighting Communism where ever it reared it's head was simply political theater. Now that I have read Sharansky, Hayek, D'Souza, Sowell and many others, I now believe that Regan's fight against the Soviet Union was the only moral path to take if you truly believe the the inherent worth, dignity and liberty of every person.

I wish I didn't have to get searched at airports and I wish overseas telephone conversations were not at risk of being wiretapped. Higher security, however, comes with a price and to believe otherwise is simply naive. I believe most Americans understand that civil liberties are being encroached upon in the name of national security. I also believe that most Americans are OK with the methods and motives currently employed by the Bush administration. The Democrats appear to be tone deaf on this subject. If they continue to criticize Bush for going to extremes to fight terrorism, they will loose even more power in Washington. Is it possible for Bush to go too far? Absolutely. Any efforts to actually shut-down open debate of issues or turn the CIA against political opponents would be completely unacceptable and I think most Republicans would agree. However, criticizing opponent's arguments as silly or misinformed is not inhibiting free speech nor is there any evidence that Bush is targeting political opponents with the CIA.

Those are my big issues. Are there 'Republican Positions' that I disagree with? Yup... prayer in publicly managed schools is a stupid idea (I think school choice is a great idea), Tom Delay is an a**hole (he thinks atheists are un-American) and consenting adults should be able to do whatever they want in private.

6 Comments:

At 6:36 PM, Blogger Joel Monka said...

I, too, am a Republican UU and had received almost the response you did, with one exception: one of my friends HAD heard of the UUA, and said "Didn't you know that was a communist front organization?" I have an extra burden as a theist as well- many fellow UUs don't welcome yet another member foolish enough to believe in something larger than himself.

My reasons for being Republican- well, conservative, which usually means Republican- are largely yours. I might add that Republican programs are usually just more practical than the Democratic programs. I don't care how holy one's intent is, if the program is futile.

 
At 6:18 AM, Blogger Early Riser said...

Joel,

Your post begs the question: If you are a Republican Theist, why are you a UU? Couldn't you just find a nice mainline Church or Synagogue?

ER

 
At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only Republican worth talking about is Congressman Ron Paul from Texas.

I have studied the Republican record on taxes, civil liberties, and other issues the Republicans are just as sorry as the Democrats. Both parties consists of self-serving communist and socialist who are totally clueless on a variety of issues. How about just follow the Constitution?

Senator Enzi, R-Wyoming, recently wanted to sponsor legislation to tax out of state internet purchases by other states. George Bush said in his 2000 GOP nomination speech that the "government should take no more than 1/3 of a person's income."

For all the talk of "morality", look at the losers: Slots Bennet, Family Values Newt Gingrinch (seeing an intern while married), Goerge "I like marijuana to" Bush. Need I say more?

 
At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lets agree to the fact,that republicans are greedy.

republicans think the american economy is a game of monopoly,and they along with corporations do not believe in regulation,only because they would not win without a fixed game!

welfare for corporations is not a problem for compassionate republican hypocrites.

THE LOVE of money seems to be their root and their voices of ignorance drowns the voice of reason,Rush Limbaugh sheds heat and No LIGHT

vengeance is GODS not You wimpy Hypocrites.Love Thy Neighbor as thy self God Bless us according to our deeds!P.S.

You Log Cabin Republicans,are SPECIAL!

If it was not for the multitude of YOU SWINGING WINGNUTS THEIR WOULD NOT BE TOO MANY REPUBLICAN
REPRESENTATIVES IN PUBIC SERVICE?
wwjd WITH YOU ASSHOLE clones?

 
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At 3:22 PM, Blogger Alex said...

I'm not a Republican, nor a conservative, though there are areas of agreement here (ex. equality of opportunity vs. results). I do have issues with the R's seeming to be a party of maintaining the status quo and protecting the interests of the well heeled & corporations. It would be easier to support them if they seemed to be standing on the side of the public interest instead.

I see government as a counterbalance against the excesses of the corporate interests, which are solely for profit (reportedly by law that is their sole concern). With the giant multinational corp's the government is the last breakwater protecting the "common welfare" of the people.

Alex


(having the courage to put my name to my posting)

 

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