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Hope for a 'Do-Nothing' Congress
Which is worse - being impoverished from motives of Christian, altruistic duty, or from hatred and undisguised thuggery?

[October 31, 2006]

After Dr. Leonard Peikoff issued his position earlier this month on the fall Congressional elections and how Objectivists ought to vote (which was straight Democratic, regardless of the venality and agendas of the candidates, in order to oust the religious, theocracy-prone Republicans), I drew up a check-off list to compare the two parties' records and aspirations, in order to see which party was the more inimical to the survival of the U.S.

The measure of the comparison being the country's survival and capacity to recover from over one hundred years of statist folly, neither party, in my estimate, wins an advantage over the other. Both are gravely and morally culpable. My comparison takes into account C. Bradley Thompson's brilliant essay, "The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism." Aside from its many noteworthy points, Thompson elucidates that while many "compassionate" and "neocon" Republicans base their agendas on religion, others are the moral heirs of a more secular Rousseau.

First, I focused on the welfare state. Today's Republicans wish to expand it, on the dual premise that it is the duty of the country and its most successful citizens to "share" the bounty, coupled with the "neocon" policy, that, since it exists, and since reducing or abolishing it would cause civil upheaval, it is best to just "deal with it" (and never mind the Republican record of abetting its growth over the last half century or more). The Republicans see capitalism and private property as the most efficient means to serve altruist ends. Possibly the most prominent examples of this policy in practice are Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who are "giving back" their fortunes (in defiance of the logic, I might add, that they created wealth that didn't exist before they "took" it).

The Democrats, on the other hand, also wish to expand the welfare state to encompass every aspect of American life. The Republicans may not hate America, but the Democrats do. They wish to inflate the welfare state out of sheer nihilistic malice for the haves, whether they are middle class or wealthy.

So, one must ask oneself: Which is worse - being impoverished from motives of Christian, altruistic duty, or from hatred and undisguised thuggery?

Second, I focused on international relations. The Republicans wish the U.S. to be a partner in a "community" of nations that care, and to defer to the standards of the majority (a.k.a., the United Nations), provided those standards are altruist. The Democrats wish the U.S. to demote itself to just another nation among dozens of indistinguishable nations. They wish to see the U.S. humbled before the court of international opinion.

Next, I focused on Iraq and Afghanistan. The Republicans, in their campaign to "democratize" these two backwater pestholes at the expense of American blood and treasure, have more or less succeeded. Both countries have attained "democracy," and voted themselves nominal theocracies, and wish the U.S. to leave. The "war on terror" focuses on Islamic "extremists," and thus rules out dealing with states that sponsor terrorism and attacks on the U.S. and the West.

The Democrats wish the U.S. to throw in the towel, as it did in Vietnam. It did so under a Republican president, Nixon, even though it was a Democratic president who took us into Vietnam, John F. Kennedy, a war prosecuted disastrously by another Democrat, Lyndon Johnson. Today's Democrats have always wished the U.S. to fail in its military matters. They despise efficacy and strength in all matters, especially military ones.

Next, I focused on Iran. The Republican policy has been to negotiate, bribe, and hope Iran's getting the bomb isn't as serious as the evidence indicates. That goes for North Korea, as well. The Democrats do not wish to contemplate the matter at all, and act as though they were oblivious to the Iranian threat. They would probably be more submissive and traitorous in any dealings with aggressive tyrannies than have been Bush and Secretary of State Rice, as their record has shown.

So, in the end, I don't see that the Republicans have a single leg up on the Democrats, except possibly that they don't wish to destroy the country, just see it transformed into "Christian" nation in contravention of the Constitution. Both parties are in effect elective oligarchies that wish to remain in power in order to "run" the country, the Republicans, out of "compassionate" expediency, the Democrats, out of malice for the country's origins and existence now as a semi-free nation.

Lest anyone doubt that the Democrats regard free Americans as a greater enemy than Iran, Syria or North Korea, consider an article on the agenda of Representative Henry Waxman of California, "Waxman Plans Tougher Oversight of Companies" in The Wall Street Journal (October 28), which reports that a Democratic victory in the House would see Waxman head a committee that "would aggressively expand oversight of many large industries - with the focus on drug prices, oil company profits and Halliburton Co.'s contracting work in Iraq." Waxman was the pit bull who attacked the tobacco companies and subjected them to a Congressional auto-da-fé, and sponsored and helped to write numerous coercive, nanny state federal laws.

An editorial in the same issue of the WSJ focuses on another power-luster, Representative Nancy Pelosi, also of California. "The Pelosi Democrats favor a 'windfall' profits tax on oil companies and a virtual moratorium on drilling for more domestic oil in Alaska and on the outer continental shelf (where the U.S. may have more energy than Saudi Arabia)." The editorial goes on to state that the Democrats would also mandate higher fuel efficiency standards and campaign to have the U.S. sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

It has always been clear that the Democrats' first priority is to bring the U.S. to its knees and convert it into Marxist paradise buoyed by the wealth produced in the country's past, regardless of what predators lurk beyond its borders. The Democrats smell blood this fall, and are already assembling their leashes, cattle prods, and Mace.

On the Republican side, The Washington Post on October 29 reported that "a Harvard University curriculum committee proposed that, since a poll indicated that most college students believe in God, graduates be required...to take one course in an area that the committee styled 'reason and faith.'" Such a course "would deal not so much with the relationship between reason and faith as with reasoning about faith, religion and religious institutions and their impact on the world."

Odd. I had always regarded the fundamental relationship as one of reason versus faith - as one of mutual hostility.

The article, written by the provost of University of Notre Dame, argues that all universities should implement programs that emulate his school's program, "to create classes that convey the intellectual riches of a religious tradition and help students engage in reasoned reflection from within the perspective of faith." Among other things, such a course requirement would help students counter the religious fanaticism of Muslims and that of other religious "extremists" and contribute to "social cohesion and civic culture."

The article reflects a domestic consequence of the Republican campaign to Christianize America, and certainly anticipates by at least a year, if such a program is already in place at Notre Dame, Pope Benedict's call for "dialogue" between Christianity and Islam. It is a form of Bush's faith-based initiative that completely conforms to courses and programs in middle and secondary public schools that indoctrinate children, multiculturally, about the alleged benevolence of the Islamic creed.

Another form of that initiative is reflected in our foreign policy, which rests on the belief that reaching out to Islam in out-of-the-trenches and over-the-top sorties of blubbering tolerance will win the U.S. friends, allies and generous reciprocity. But, as evidence of the utter air-headedness of such a policy, Cal Thomas, a writer for Jewish World Review, on October 25th interviewed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (The interview was published on October 28th.) It came out during the interview that Rice apparently bases her diplomacy on polls and wishful thinking, chiefly wishful thinking.

"The great majority of Palestinian people...they just want a better life," Rice told Thomas. "This is an educated population....I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do."

What a fantasy! Firstly, women do not call the shots in Muslim society; men do. And the frequent stories and news footage of Palestinian and Muslim women elsewhere who boast that their sons or daughters died as suicide bombers burst that balloon, as well. And the barbarians who breed and kill each other in Gaza and the West Bank (besides in Iraq and Afghanistan) can hardly be called an "educated" population. I don't doubt that the Palestinians want "a better life," which, going by their actions, would mean one in which all Jews were exterminated and the Islamic crescent fixed atop the Washington Monument, Big Ben, and the Arc de Triomphe.

"I don't believe that most people in the Middle East really want to blow themselves up," said Rice, "and believe in this ["extremist"] ideology....There are always extremists who are going to do that...always ideologues who are going to believe and they are always going to recruit from a pool of disaffected people. So you have to lessen the pool of disaffected people, give them alternatives, and people choose other paths...."

If there were a grain of truth or the slimmest link to reality in that "belief," I would like to ask Madame Secretary: So, where are all the Muslim tap-dancers? The Muslim Garbos? The Muslim Edisons and Salks? Am I mistaken, and those two Rovers on Mars are actually Saudi probes in a quest for knowledge? But, since there isn't the least fealty to reality in any of Rice's statements, one can only conclude that she is blind to the fundamental nature of Islam and Muslim life, which is a cult of death. Islam breeds disaffection with life, and the "disaffected" practice their creed fully and consistently.

Do the Palestinians really want "a better life"? John Galt had an answer to that, and if Rice were any kind of reputable "ideologue," she would know how to quote him to any Arab's face: "I know that I want to live much more intensely than you do....I know that you, in fact, do not want to live at all." (Atlas Shrugged, p. 1104, said to Mr. Thompson, Head of State)

Rice is not likely to "offend" any Arab with such wisdom, nor is any Democratic envoy. Cal Thomas believes she is "utopian and rather naïve"; I think that is too generous an appraisal of her character. But the Democrats are nearly as nihilistic as Islamists in their hatred of men and are in a state of criminal denial; they see too much of themselves in parasitical Saudi princes and looting Muslim tyrants.

(My thanks to two individuals for alerting me to this illuminating and revealing interview, John Lewis and Robb LeChevalier).

A key issue governing next week's elections will be Iraq and its endless cost in American lives and fortunes. Is either party - or, for that matter, any commentator or pundit - observing that it is the wrong war, and that it is a signal instance of the philosophy of sacrifice and duty that both parties advocate and practice? No. Both parties have a stake in one form or another of the same morality.

To Objectivists, therefore, I can only recommend that they hope for the creation of gridlock in Congress, a state that would neutralize or minimize, for a time, the capacity of either party to further damage the country.

Edward Cline is the author the Sparrowhawk series of novels set in England and Virginia during the Revolutionary period, the detective novel First Prize, the suspense novel Whisper the Guns and of numerous other published articles, book reviews and essays.


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