Wake Up, My fellow Conservatives. Time To Kill the GOP.

The core of Americans who find themselves falling between John Kasich and the political centerline in America have a choice. Either we give up and go full Dem, surrendering our political fate to progressives favoring a headlong reinvention of America; we rebuild the Republican Party to be relevant in the 21st Century by crafting an inclusive ethos that is fundamentally conservative; or go and form a third party that implicitly rejects the Goldwater-Buckley conservatism that has ossified into a reactionary ethos and overtaken the GOP.

Whether Trump wins or loses, we will face these choices. And let us choose well.

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Author: David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.

4 thoughts on “Wake Up, My fellow Conservatives. Time To Kill the GOP.”

  1. A healthy body politic needs both those that look to the present for our solutions, and those who look to the past to see if, in fact, today’s shiny new solution has been tried before.

    The problem for conservatism the world over is that (most of) the parties of the global “Left” already know this, and are themselves broad churches containing plenty of people with a perfectly functioning conservative instinct. Certainly the US Democrats, British and Australian Labor parties, and most of Europe’s “social democrats” fall into this category.

    So all that’s left, or rather, right (ahem!) is what you correctly label “reactionary”, David. Usually on social grounds. Which is always always always a losing fight — c.f. all of history!

    I would love there to be a conservative party that promoted *actually* sound economics and not the “shareholder value” and “supply side” nonsense that has — quite literally — never ever ever worked, not even once.

    Co-opt MMT and own it before the progressives get to it — as just one option.

    I would love there to be a conservative party that promoted *actual* believed in the Fourth Amendment, viz “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” And interpreted this agressively for the Digital age.

    Get this done before progressives own it — because they will!

    I would love there to be a conservative party that recognized that the *real* threat from inequality is the irreplaceable loss of *free time* — the source of pretty much all innovation. You can’t start world-beating companies in garages if your parents can’t afford a) a garage, b) your education, and c) a few years of “goofing around” before you need to join the rat race.

    Figure this out before progressives pass Universal Basic Income — because that’s coming, sure as eggs.

    If there was a conservative part like this, I’d join it.

  2. You make great points as always, Shannon. A few thoughts:

    1. The ground twixt the Big Tent Democrats and the Reactionary Right may seem to have disappeared, but as I live in that wasteland, I can tell you that neither side serves me, my immediate neighbors, and people I deal with on a daily basis.

    2. The debates between Liberals and Conservatives in the 21st Century will be less about ends than about means. I think you are right in that there is a growing commonality of goals (if you strip out the social agenda, of course), but we continue to diverge in terms of means. You’ll see some examples of that shortly.

    3. My biggest concern in economics is that all actors in an economy – from individuals to companies to governments – must be compelled to carry at least a significant share of the external costs of their operations. We need to learn how to measure those costs, and then come up with a way of shifting those costs onto the players. I don’t think you get rid of shareholder value: I think we find better ways to allocate costs. As a taxpayer, frankly, I’m tired of subsidizing Big Oil and Big Tobacco.

    4. I had a long debate recently with fellow T-Bird Bob Foreman about MMT, and I remain unconvinced. While I think that the obsession with balanced budgets and a pathological fear of government debt are no longer justified, the belief that governments can spend forever and run the printing presses without there eventually being very serious consequences is over-simplistic and utopian. Don’t believe me? Ask Paul Krugman. What is needed is a rethinking of Keynesian economics, with a very harsh examination of those types of government spending that offer lower returns.

    5. I agree on the Fourth Amendment, and I’d argue that politically, only a conservative can credibly roll back the powers of our nascent police state. Not only should we own it, we are obliged to do so.

    When you start talking about ideas like a universal basic income and paying kids to goof off for a few years, you begin moving into a dangerous area. Entitlements and debt service are already massive budget outlays. To quote economist Josh Zumbrum, “the CBO projects that mandatory spending and spending on interest will climb, but that defense and non-defense discretionary spending will be squeezed. Anyone who doesn’t want to see that happen in the next decade needs some combination of higher revenue, much faster economic growth, or cuts to entitlement programs.”

    I am far more concerned about national health than telling kids we’ll pay them to sit on the beach because they “need time to think.” I’d rather institute a program of mandatory national service (not limited to the armed forces) in combination with trade and technical apprenticeship programs to give kids a break between the classroom and the harshness of the real world.

    We could go on ad nauseam, but I think you can see that there is a lot of fertile ground twixt the progressive left and the hard right that has, of late, gone unsown.

  3. One other thing to consider: I do not think that the left is going to continue its move to the right. On the contrary, I think that once we get past the general election – particularly if Hillary wins and shows up with a Democratic majority in the house – we’re going to see the Dems lurch sharply toward the progressive left in the belief that a) they have a mandate, b) they have the wherewithal, and c) the Sanders movement demonstrates a need for them to move in that direction.

    If Hillary loses, I bet that the DNC abandons the center and goes whole-hog Progressive in a reaction against a presumptive Trump administration.

    In short, I expect there to be a lot of room at the center a year from now, regardless of the outcome.

  4. MMT is often called “New Keynsianism”. And it is very, very far from a “print money until the machines break!” set of ideas. The whole idea of MMT is that a society’s borrowing power depends — like yours or mine — on its overall “revenue”, which essentially means its tax receipts.

    Greece, for example, is not an case study in profligate government spending or money-printing hyperinflation, but in fact a case study in a government being unable, over generations, to successfully raise revenue. Tax avoidance (not tax minimization!) is a major industry in Greece.

    So it was the spending/printing *out of proportion to revenue* which was/is Greece’s issue.

    My point about companies starting in garages was, also, very far from an all-expenses paid gap year!

    It was about squeezing the middle class until it has no disposable income, and thus depriving the economy of its primary engine: middle class consumption.

    With no disposable income, parents have no ability to “invest” in their children, in whatever form that takes (and I simply put it in a semi-mythical conservative form for the sake of argument).

    Lastly, shareholder value has been described by none other than hyper-capitalist Jack Welch as “the dumbest idea in the world”. And in fact if you look *purely at outcomes* it certainly seems to be an absolutely bomb.

    I recommend this primer: http://www.amazon.com/Shareholder-Value-Myth-Shareholders-Corporations/dp/1605098132/

    Shareholder value *harms shareholders*. And that’s all you need to know.

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