Friday, August 17, 2012

The Future is Yours to Ignore


One of the reasons I have not been able to post recently is the birth of my third son.  As I was perusing the internet while bouncing him in his chair yesterday I saw a Twitter post from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee stating they had new bumper stickers.  The sticker reads: Save Medicare, Vote Democrat (to which I replied).  There you go, a naked pander.  No substance, no notion or framing of the problem, which is monumental, just a simple little “vote for us so you can keep getting yours”.

As I lay in bed last night I am trying to expand that line of reasoning, how do I explain this to my children down the road (they are all under six at the moment).  When they are old enough to understand the concept of the budget, on spending more than you bring in, and how so much of what is spent is on entitlements, on moving ever closer to insolvency I am supposed to say what exactly?  The Obama/Elizabeth Warren line seems to dictate I say something along the lines of:

Well boys, you see promises were made by people who died well before I was born. The people who made those promises underestimated the enormity of the task, the burden it would place, and the reality and scope of the issue, but that is unimportant. What is important is that you step up and meet that obligation, fulfill that promise. Don’t question it, don’t ask after the sustainability, the efficacy or utility. Don’t wonder if there is a better way to do things, don’t imagine that you are not bound by the past and that your generation can change the system. No, no, no, do none of those things, we have a Social Contract and this is the way things are done. 

Seem reasonable?  I love my parents, really and truly, but if push comes to shove in a choice between my kids and my parents, my parents are screwed.  And knowing my parents like I do, they wouldn’t even let it come to that.  They would step up and make the right choice.  My children have the right to change the system if need be, consent of the governed as it were.  We today, and they in the future, have the right to adjust course.  If we are about to crash head long into a wall we are allowed to turn the wheel.  To deny that opportunity is by definition tyranny.  Simply saying “Save Medicare” does nothing to solve any problems, it is a simplistic, selfish and moronic proposition.

This of course is not a reason to jump on the Romney train.  Pander is starting to become his middle name.  He is using the bloated, inefficient, wasteful and corrupt Medicare program as a campaign tool as well.  “Obama cut Medicare!” as if that was in and of itself an evil.  The old people vote though, so why not whip them up.  He of course extends his panders to whip up other bits of the base.  When the real issues that face this country involve spending trillions of dollars we do not have on top of trillions we have already thrown away, he advocates spending even more on defense, pegged to GDP, because you can never be to safe.  When economics and age baiting become to hard he can also be sure to bring up important issues like protecting us all from the gays and their desire to destroy marriage as we know it.  There is no maturity or seriousness coming out of either of these campaigns, and it is very disheartening.

When I see people in the liberty movement continue to push this fusionism issue with the Republicans, this lesser of two evils, don’t throw away your vote, we have to get Obama out mentality, I just shake my head.  Where is the real difference?  This whole “work from the inside’ is just so laughable.  Wait till 2016, Rand Paul might run, as if that were somehow the saving grace.  Is it about the men or the principles?  Can real change be incrementally secured?  If push come to shove between getting Santorums of the party in line versus the Paulites, how do you really think it is going to play out?  Can you change the system before it changes you is the big question here.  These two parties are going to spend a billion dollars to secure the halls of power, because the interest involved all gain something from the ‘system’ as presently constructed.  I don’t see rewarding either side a victory and begging for crumbs from the table as being the best way to advance a liberty agenda, for there is no gain for the 'system' in it.  I would rather throw sand in the gears, get people outside of there comfort zone, and say for once ‘vote your conscience’.  To say there is no hope in that is to say that the people can not change the system, even incrementally.  I often imagine Whig politicians making the same arguments we hear today back in 1852: "Its a two-party system".  When is the last time you voted Whig?  There will be nothing done this year prior to the election, because keeping up the “the other side is a bunch of intractable ideologues” fiction motivates the base.  When the election is over we can be sure that they will rally around the idea that cutting the budget through sequestration would be terrible, and everyone will keep their goodies.  Yet saying ‘to hell with this’ and casting a vote outside of the system is somehow crazy and naïve.  We have been hearing that for decades now, and we will continue to hear it, because it is what is needed to keep the status quo.  It will be up to us to stop listening, or our children can suffer the consequences.

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