Sunday, November 9, 2008

Changing political views. Why Republicans lost

For a long time after coming to the US, I thought the difference between Democrats and Republicans was smaller than between Pepsi and Coke. It was evident to me that somehow Republicans were better internationally — Democrat presidents usually bent over for foreign powers and were therefore loved by foreign leaders (by the way, theleader of Communist Party in Russia is exultant over Obama being elected — as is Hugo Chavez), while Republicans were tough, threatened to nuke or invade, tended to invade, and usually got things solved in political crises (unless they ran out of time and Democrats who came to power next fucked things up). At the same time, I thought that Democrats are better for social issues. I was quite a believer in all social support programs at the time.

I saw political system in a one-linear way (by the way, the traditional separation of political powers into “right” and “left” comes from French Parliament where political parties took the respective sides of the room) bent into a second dimension (where crazy radical rightist fascists were not far from radical leftist socialists):

I thought that I was a centrist, even though I understood to begin with that my views were only statistically centrist. In some aspects I was conservative, in some aspects — quite liberal. In some aspects quite a radical, in either direction, in some aspects — pretty moderate. When one of my friends called himself “moderate — another word for ‘smart’”, it made sense to me, although having all views as moderate did not — I never liked compromises too much. I couldn’t quite understand why one’s views have to be lumped into some category.

Then I started realizing that even liberal social programs are not so good and can be quite bad and damaging to those they are trying to help. Yet, I was weary of conservatives’ lack of compassion and tolerance in a few issues and ignorance in science issues. I still did not understand why one had to be a member of some club, such that if one believes in conservatism in fiscal questions and internationally, one cannot at the same time believe in Theory of Evolution.

After I became religious and saw damage that liberalism can do in other areas of life. I realized how crazy liberal thinking based on emotions is.

Then I saw libertarian ideas and Austrian school of economics (Hayek, Mises, and their followers), and things suddenly started making sense — for the first time in my life did I start seeing things clearly from economic and political points of view. I also realized why I was annoyed with old one-dimensional view of the politics — it was unable to divorce economic philosophy from political one. I discovered Nolan chart which did so, clearly delineating every political/economic philosophy’s positions:

My political views are similar to my religious views: I am a maximalist and prefer to take maximum good from each position, instead of compromising, which is why I chose Chabad and — lehavdil — libertarianism.

Discovering libertarian philosophy also made me realize how pervasive Marxist thinking has become — no matter where people belong politically, they cannot let go of stereotypes about supposed problems of free market and necessity of central government to poke its nose into private affairs in order to “govern”.

By the way, now that I am on the topic of Nolan charts, here is the reason why Republicans lost (and what I was talking about during the lunch) — voting patterns of both parties (blue is Dem’s; red is Rep’s):

I wonder who the single libertarian Republican is.

As you can see, economically, Republicans were not too different from Democrats (the same amount of government regulation of economy), while socially, they remained conservative. Democratic average is closer to centrist policies (which is what people usually want) than Republican average, which is fascist.
Now, people don’t realize that two axes of politics actually exist (economic and personal freedom) and associate lack of personal freedom (Conservative philosophy) with free market (also Conservative philosophy), without realization that the two freedoms can be combined — in a Libertarian philosophy. Which is why, as I said, free market is being blamed for Republicans’ social and economic policies, while the latter are not free-market–style at all.

On my way to work last night, I was hearing on the radio how the four years of socialists in Presidential Office and some time of their domination in the Congress should give time to Republicans to re-evaluate themselves and realize that compromises with liberalism are not effective. Some politicians start admitting it: “Compassionate Conservatism was a mistake”. Yeh think?

No comments: