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Monday, March 18, 2013

The Ant and the Orange: A Fable Of the Death Of A Party, Or, Maybe the GOP Needs to Give Us Libertarians A Call


I don't care about evolution. I don't care about "intelligent design." I'm far too stupid to be able to understand why we're here, much less how we got here. So are you. Even you smarty pants academics and theologians have no idea what you're talking about when you talk about those things. It's fun to think about, just like it's fun to look up at the sky at night and wonder what the hell all those little lights up there really are, but don't be so self-centered as to think you actually know the answer. And another thing, getting all incensed and insulted about someone who arrived at a different conclusion than you about all that Big Stuff is kind of a waste of time too. So, seriously, think twice the next time you're going to kill someone in the name of God.

Anyway, That's Really Not My Point

Many years ago I was a technical assistant to a guy that made Sheldon Cooper look socially normal and moderately intelligent by comparison. He would show up for work wearing a shirt that had a dime-sized chunk of chocolate frosted doughnut on it. The same chunk of chocolate frosted doughnut for about six months. He was by far the smartest person I ever met, but he was a royal pain in the ass to work for. He was also a little nuts. I asked him once if he could explain the boundaries of the universe to me (this was back when I was still dumb enough to think I could become smart enough to understand whatever I wanted to understand). He explained the universe and eternity to me thusly:
"Think of yourself like the tiniest ant you can imagine walking on the skin of the largest orange you can imagine. That's what the universe is."
I told him I did not understand this. To which he replied:
"I doubted you'd be able to grasp the concept."
Well, @#$%  you, you chocolate frosted doughnut wearing freak. I'll figure out the universe myself then, I thought to myself as I set out on my intellectual quest for philosophical knowledge. Over the next thirty years I came to the conclusion that trying to answer the unanswerable is the dumbest, most narcissistic thing a human being can do.


This Brings Me to the Republican Party

It's no secret the Republican Party is a horrible entity. The GOP is like the Washington Generals, except Barack Obama and the Democrats aren't the Harlem Globetrotters, they're a 7th grade CYO team captained by a kid who never played basketball before but whose dad owns the insurance company that paid for the uniforms. Barack Obama is a silly, simplistic, hack politician from our most embarrassing city and the Republicans could not beat him. That's how horrible they are.

"How'd that happen?" you ask. Good question, and while I may not be able to help you explain to your five-year-old where her goldfish goes when you flush it down the toilet (just tell her you're setting it free to go find Nemo), I can tell you exactly why the Republican Party has become the party of losers: the Evangelicals, also known as the Christian Right. They're very nice people, and I'm sure they mean well, but I think they just may be a little too narrow-minded when it comes to matters political.

Around twenty years ago the evangelical wing of the GOP began to take hold of the GOP, and the GOP thought this was okay because they had been losing voters since strapping their howdah to the Bush clan a few years earlier. Basically, the GOP threw out the welcome mat to the same people who would then hold the party hostage to its extremely narrow political views for the next generation.

I left the Republican Party in 1993 (after having joined as a sparkly, bright, charming and fashionably thin 23 year-old during Reagan's re-election campaign) as a result of a series of dismaying discussions with people in my party who said things like these actual quotes:
  • I will never vote for a Republican who is pro-choice, I'd rather see a Democrat win
  • I will only vote for pro-life candidates, regardless of who may win
  • If a candidate is pro-choice, he is not my candidate and I will not vote for him
  • I vote Christian first and everything else second
  • I will not vote for a candidate who is not of the same faith as me
Okay, got it. That's wonderful. I admire people with principles and a firm grasp of their own personal doctrines. Now let's take a look at who that informed way of political thinking got us:

Visual aid stolen from PatDollard.com. How Ironic is that?

People who throw the baby out with the bathwater are at the very least stupid.

Now, twenty years later we're in a world where people actually think its the government's job to tell people who they should marry and who they shouldn't. You know, like in the 20th Century when the government thought it had the right to tell people what race could drink out of what fountain. Who cares if someone views their personal sexuality different than you view their personal sexuality? Please don't tell me you're going to jeopardize your children's future freedom and opportunity on that. As long as no one forces me to marry the guy in the next cube (he reeks of cologne, cigarettes and some un-Godly smell I only ever smelled at the veterinarian before), then I'm okay with who someone else chooses to spend their lives with.

The socialist agenda of the Democrat Party has been allowed to gain an amazingly firm (yet fundamentally flawed) foothold in this country, especially among those who don't pay too much attention to the thoughts in their heads. Meanwhile the myopic Right has steadfastly held on to a social agenda that shouldn't ever be a political policy in the first place. Remember that German government a few years ago that tried to blame its way out of the mess it was in on the backs of the Jews?

Over the past twenty years, we have watched  the Socialist Democrats (you just call them "Democrats") successfully distance the national psyche from its intended core of fiscal responsibility and commitment to individual liberty and civic-mindedness. At the same time, the Republican Party has become an entity of social engineers without a firm grasp on the pulse of the nation. The majority of people in the GOP expect that because they're good people they should win elections while they force their moral-agenda down the throats of people who would rather just be left alone.

The GOP's social outlook has become about as unrealistic as expecting to get away with explaining eternity to an impressionable young college graduate using an ant and an orange.

The evangelical wing of the GOP, and no one else, is responsible for this shift.

If everyone went to church, served God, and lived their lives in the faith of a higher power we'd probably all be better off (except if that higher power told us to blow up Jews and infidels or something), but its not the government's business to tell us to live moral God-fearing lives. It's the government's job to make it possible for us to live moral God-fearing lives if we so choose. It's also the government's business to keep people from blowing us up, stealing from us, and supporting commerce. Beyond that the government is nothing more than a boil on the ass of progress. Feeling like you need the government to help you become successful without actually putting any effort in? Unless you're Barack Obama, that's not going to happen.

So here are some hard truths I have learned along the way:
  1. A tiny ant on a giant orange is not only implausible it's a lame way to prove how smart you are
  2. After twenty years of exclusively voting pro-life,the pro-lifers have handed the Democrat Party carte blanche to rule as it sees fit
  3. After twenty years of trying to form the Republican Party in the image of God, the Republican Party has become nothing more than the social engineering wing of the Democrats Party
  4. Most grown-ups aren't interested in telling other grown-ups how to live their lives, but given the choice between a bunch of fiscally irresponsible children who believe in unicorns and lollipops for all, and the Republicans, the uni-cornists have won
  5. The only way the GOP will gain a foothold again is if it dusts off the Rolodex and calls up all of us libertarians who deserted the party because it became the scary narrow-minded place it now is
If the GOP asks us nicely to come back and bring our common sense and political understanding with us we can probably show them the right way to go about this government stuff.

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