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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Oxymoron of Big Government Conservatism

I just read this excellent article by Ryan Sager at Tech Central Station. I think Ryan is dead on when he talks about the demise of small-government philosophy in the Republican party.
"In coming years, political historians might look back and try to pinpoint the day or week or month that the Republican Party shed the last vestiges of its small-government philosophy. If and when they do, the week just past should make the short list. For it was in this last week that the Republican-controlled Congress made it clear that it sees no area of American life -- none too trivial and none too intimate -- that the federal government should not permeate with its power."

Ryan goes on to point to the Congressional hearings on steroids in baseball last week and the Schiavo case as examples of a Republican-controlled government overstepping its bounds.

I wrote last week about the farce that was the steroid hearings. Neither party acquited themselves well in this episode, particularly Congressmen grandstanding on an issue of miniscule importance. I am all in favor of baseball getting rid of steroid use. But I am not convinced that most American feel that way. If they truly did, why are they still attending games? The best way for Americans to send a message to Major League Baseball about steroid use is to stop going to games. I guarantee that this message would be far more effective than any Congress can deliver.

I haven't written about the Terri Schiavo story because others know more about it than me and I'm still not sure what I think about it. However, I'm very disturbed by the precedent set by Congress convening to pass a bill for one person. I understand why it was done and the Constitutional basis for it. Nevertheless, laws are generally understood to be created for all. I'm concerned that in this case the principle of the ends justify the means was used, particularly by Republicans.

My only interest in the Republican party is to the degree that it advances classical liberal (i.e. free market capitalist, conservative) ideals. Just as the Democratic party is abandoning many moderate pro-life people, the Republican party seems like it is abandoning the advancement of capitalism in favor of the advancement of corporatism.

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