President Obama recently claimed that the nation was “united as one American family.” So what if all Americans were unified in the Democrat Party, and there was no Republican Party, as many on the left wish?
First, slavery would have been abolished long after other European nations, even backwards Russia.
In fact, Tsar Alexander II abolished slavery by decree in 1861, two years before the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president. After Lincoln’s assassination, the presidency was filled by Andrew Johnson, a War Democrat who had the distinction of being impeached and nearly removed from office. (William Jefferson Clinton also shares the honor of being among the impeached Democrats.)
Among Johnson’s high crimes and misdemeanors? Hostility to Freedmen and the passing of Black Codes that gave dark- skinned Americans inferior status. Democrats would continue their tradition of opposing emancipatory laws for blacks through to the 1960s, when far more Democrats voted against the Civil Rights Act than Republicans. (And not on the principled grounds that the legislation was hostile to private property rights and the rule of law.)
Second, America would have developed into a highly unionized and more economically inefficient nation since at least the 1880s. While progressives today tend to idealize unions, and imbue them with legendary status for opposing the monopoly capitalists and granting rights to the working man, unions were in many ways quickly bypassed and outmoded by corporations in terms of granting pensions and benefits to workers.
The end result of over-unionization would be decreased productivity in exchange for higher-than-market-level wages and benefits. There was a reason GM went broke and needed a bail out.
Third, there would be a lot less rich people, and a lot more poor people. This would be true in absolute terms, and not in relative terms; it means that the overall standard of living would be depressed. While more equality may sound great to Democrats who want to punish the rich with higher taxes in the name of social welfare spending, what happens when the rich are so overtaxed they become as well-off as everyone else? Presumably the social welfare programs need more funding, but without rich people around, everyone gets taxed more. Rinse and repeat until everyone is poor, but “socially secured” by a state that is immune from market accountability.
With a state-run economy, the standard of living would decrease. In plain English, how good would your doctor be if you had no choice who he is, like under the single-payer healthcare system that Obama, apparently like a century of Democrats before him, is dead-set to implement? The doctor you would draw would be a matter of luck, much more so than under a market system. Under many “free” healthcare systems, you get what you pay for.
Fourth, America would be industrially depressed. Hit by numerous safety and environmental regulations in order to micro-manage the economy and extract resources from it, the country would soon resemble Detroit, Baltimore, or any other city that has been run by Democrats for generations. We might never have even had the automobile manufacturing revolution that made America’s economy the “engine of the world.” We never would have taken the risks needed to accrue benefits from unexpected discoveries; in other words, we never would have pioneered world scientific progress using what Schumpeter called the “creative destruction” of the market.
No, the Democrats would continue to bail out all the losers, and put them on equal terms with those who succeed. There would have been little incentive to strike out on a wild idea in order to make a fortune. Ours would have been a middling industrial economy, perhaps insufficient to even assist our allies overseas with enough industrially-fueled military might to decisively defeat their adversaries.
Fifth, America would quickly have become completely immoral. With little sense of right and wrong, except that redistribution is good, and rich people are bad, crime would have become as rampant across the country as it is in Democrat-run cities. Far from being a coincidence, when people have as little respect for private property and human life as the Democrat Party, and people are forbidden from having guns for self-defense, crime is going to skyrocket.
Sixth, America would have a weaker national defense. The beloved target of all Democrats when it comes time to trim the budget is defense spending, which is ironically the main legitimate function of the central government. While Democrats love to fight wars (see the twentieth century’s wars initiated or escalated by Democrats, and those ended by Republicans), it is no secret that the Dems would rather be doling out other people’s money to make new client-slaves of the state,though they are not morally opposed to sending Americans overseas to kill and be killed in nation-building projects.
In conclusion, an America exclusively run by Democrats from its inception would quickly have become an impoverished, crime-ridden, industrially depressed, war-riddled slave state. On the other hand, Republicans freed the slaves, provided a climate for economic growth and innovation, were responsible enough to provide military funding for wars that Democrats started or agreed to wage, have tended to keep crime under control, have mostly respected individual rights, and more closely obeyed the Constitution.
The Republican Party might not be as conservative as many on the right would like, but it is an indispensable check on the irredeemably corrupt and dangerous Democrats. Those of us who consider ourselves on the libertarian and conservatarian side need to work within the party to push for realistic and positive change.