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.