Monday, September 5, 2011

Game Time: Name One Leading Country That Follows the Tea Party Model of Government

The Tea Party and conservative Republicans -- including Ron Paul -- continue to scream about the perils of the national government. Anything that comes out of Washington is horrible, oppressive, and -- undoubtedly -- unconstitutional.

They seemingly want the nation to return to the type of country it was under the Articles of Confederation. Well, the Framers believed that this was a bad idea. So, as much as the conservatives lament the passage of a imagined fantasy land when the states, as provided by the Constitution, were all-powerful, history has involved an expansion of federal powers. And each generation has inscribed this expansion in the Constitution.

After the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation, the next expansion in federal power came with the Civil War. Although conservatives want the states alone to determine the scope of important rights (e.g., Paul saying the states should decide abortion and sexual orientation issues), the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly limits the power of states with respect to substantive liberties, due process, equal protection and privileges and immunities. The Constitution also expands federal power with the Sixteenth Amendment, which gives Congress the power to tax income.

Conservatives have blatantly lied about history. Although they argue that the country was always -- until recently -- one of a very limited national government, the historical record shows that people in each generation of American history have generally favored more government due to the benefits that it brings to the People.

Rather than debating "whether" the government has a role in our lives, we should work together to identity issues that are suitable for governmental support and involvement. Instead, conservatives basically abhor anything at the federal level -- except for the military. While many liberals tend to think that a government-private sector collaboration is inherently suspicious - even though some of the most heralded liberal policies (like Medicare) involve a partnership with private entities.

This stalemate is extremely frustrating - particularly for those of us who have actual knowledge about history. The stalemate is also troublesome because it wastes precious time that we could spend mending the poor state of the country. And -- yes -- the government has a role in this as well.

So, here is a challenge to conservatives: Please name ONE (just one) country that has relative wealth, a democratic government, a good healthcare system, an educational system that provides basic early education for all residents, and a system of government that at least formally values due process, equal protection and civil liberty --- while at the same time having a central government that provides no services to the public -- except for national defense, that does not spend money to assist states with social services, and in which the people believe that government services are unhelpful, wrong, harmful to society, and a sign of totalitarianism.



Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Still waiting......

Matt P. said...

Here is your answer: Straw man. Look it up.

Leoric726 said...

If I could sir, I'd argue that you're actually doing your argument a grave disservice in how you have framed it. Because even if you lowered the standard to :

A democratic government
A K-12 education system (without federal funding)
Somewhat robust (top 5) defense industry
A complete province/private run healthcare system
Respect for civil liberties
and nothing else...

I doubt there'd be a government that anyone would be comfortable citing as an example.

Why raise the bar if you don't have to?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Matt: The Tea Party is just hot air.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Thanks Leoric. I wouldn't say my argument is undermined by its framing. I collected the major themes of the Tea Party and presented them collectively to reveal the flaws. Thanks for observing that even a more streamlined approach is without example.

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