Note from Taylor: My buddy, William K, sent me an email last week in reply to this article from Reason Magazine. I don’t 100% agree with him, especially on foreign policy where I think he’s dead wrong, but he brings up some excellent points.
I almost agree with what he’s saying. I do agree that the GOP has an almost non-existent public policy. I disagree with the idea that the Democrat party has no public policy. It may be that there is nothing distinctly new about their policy, but I believe their policy is to chisel in the public a new dependence upon the types of central planning (efficient government or some other euphemism) which provides the essentials (food, health, transportation, even jobs). Most of the impactful parts of Obamacare have not actually been implemented and can, in theory, still be brought down. What I do agree about is the sort of dishwater leadership we currently have in both chambers and the party at large.
Furthermore, there’s nothing “wrong” with the Democrat policy agenda. It’s working as long as they can tie their failings to the nebulous “other” which is the source of all wrongs. Were it not for the “other,” we might have found the philosopher’s stone of governance. In any case, true scandals (intelligences leaks, Ambassador Stevens killed in the Islamist attack on Benghazi and the subsequent obfuscation of what happened and why, the IRS targeting conservative oriented non-profits which faced scrutiny at a rate of almost 15:1, etc.) have yet to stick or gain traction. There are three more years and no sign that any of these will actually matter.
Regardless of the legality or the propriety of their actions, what the Democrat party is doing is working, even if it is slower than what they prefer. This incremental approach works, even if it is frustrating for them. If a conservative compromises on a law over a conviction, he moves further away than where his ideals state he should be. If a liberal compromises the same way, his march is simply a little slower.
Finally, I want to point out one thing that bothers me about libertarians, especially the more fiscally conscious ones – the ones with whom I am probably the most aligned. There seems to be a streak of isolationism in them and a aversion to defense spending. While a lot of energy based problems are self-inflicted, one cannot deny that the American Navy has kept the seas safe for international commerce. Our Navy basically guarantees that the crude petroleum produced in the Levant is able to make it to America as well as the mostly free Western Europe. Our defense spending as a percentage of GDP has been falling for decades. If our Navy shrinks too much, we risk conceding important trade routes and strategic seas. China has recently published a map which claims Philippine territory de facto and de jure controlled by the Philippines which is slowly being consumed by Chinese soft invasions (invasions which we are, by treaty, supposed to repel, but for which we do nothing). Without defense spending, we have no ships, no fuel, no sailors to protect our interests and the interests of our allies. I honestly even hate the euphemism “interest” because it makes it sound like protecting commerce on the seas and protecting territorial integrity of allies is just a hobby, like knitting or bird watching. These are not pedestrian dawdlings – this is impactful for not only our way of life, but for the mostly democratic and free way of life that is genuinely threatened by the Communists in China and the Oligarchs in Russia.