Good News from CPAC

“All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter” – Edmund Burke

I am not a Republican, nor am I a Democrat. I am not registered with any political party. (As an aside, in the state of Maryland that makes me “unaffiliated” rather than “independent” – turns out somebody started an “independent party” and claimed all existing “independent” registrations as members. Funny.)

If you were to ask me which of the major political parties I support, I would say neither. If you ask me which of the major political parties aligns with my ideologies, I would say neither. Both have tended to use government as a means of enforcing desired behaviors, have sold preferential treatment in legislation for political patrons, and have enacted policies for the benefit of some to the detriment of others in order to win votes of the “some”. None of these patterns of behaviors is acceptable in a country that claims to be free.

However, if you asked me which of the two major political parties is more likely (however slim those chances may be) to reform itself and establish a policy platform that I could support, then the answer is simple. I find it much more likely that the Republican party would morph into something of a freedom-minded political coalition than the Democrat party. (Again, I don’t think this outcome is at all likely; I simply believe it is more likely that the Republicans would become a freedom-based party than the Democrats.)

The rationale here is rather easy to work through, the Republicans have a less complicated route to freedom. They have fewer anti-freedom coalitions to dismantle. (Not “none” – just “fewer”.) Both political parties face significant obstacles with corporate interests that have purchased preferential treatment in legislation, and groups that currently benefit from the party’s policies even if those policies are ultimately inconsistent with freedom, self-determination, and lack of government intervention.

Beyond this, the Republicans simply need to extricate themselves from religious interests that wish to use government as a means to enforce morality (usually related to sexual behaviors or drug usage). That is likely not a difficult move, and appears to be breaking in the right direction anyway. I’m rather convinced that once the government began dismantling the patronage issues, religious leaders (or the religious masses) would move quite easily in the direction of freedom and self-determination.

The Democrats, on the other hand, would have to undo an entire political base committed to the notion that the government knows best and should control such trivial matters as the economy.

I note my political party conjectures today because earlier this week some good news emerged from CPAC – the Conservative Political Action Conference. Every year, CPAC has a presidential straw poll, even if it’s not a presidential election year. For the second year in a row, Ron Paul took first place. The three previous years had Mitt Romney winning.

While CPAC straw poll results are not indicative of the eventual nominee, the fact that a Constitutionalist, limited-government, Libertarian-Republican like Paul would win is perhaps a sign that the party as a whole is intending to move in the direction of freedom. This, is a good thing.

Will the freedom-minded conservatives, the Tea Partiers, continue to gain sway over the Republican establishment? Time will tell. But this weekend’s straw poll is a small, positive sign.

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