By Todd Keister
If there was any lingering doubt that Americans live under one-party statist rule, the events of the past several weeks should have removed them. When it was revealed that the federal government has been illegally spying on every American’s telephone call records and emails, members of both parties expressed their enthusiastic support of the program. Now, Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has publicly attacked Republican Senator Rand Paul — one of the few members of the US Congress that still believes in the America of our revolution.
For a century and a half we have been ruled by these same Republicans and Democrats, who compete with one another for the seats of power. As the power of the central government has grown to unimagined proportions, the two parties have merged into one political cartel. True, the two factions have competing plans for how to exercise that power — but they mean to exercise it. The conflicting talking points and talking heads on cable news keep up the veneer of a competing vision for America between Republicans and Democrats, but fundamentally — where it really counts — the two parties are identical.
The great classical liberal theorist, Frederic Bastiat, observed more than 150 years ago, “The plans differ, the planners are all alike.” This is the situation Americans find themselves in today. Republicans want to lower income taxes a little and Democrats want to raise them — but neither wants to eliminate them because they are wholly incompatible with a free republic. Republicans and Democrats attack each other’s use of the military when the opposing party controls the executive branch, but both are intent on maintaining military expenditures at a level that accounts for 44 percent of military spending for the entire planet. Likewise, both parties are intent on preserving and even expanding our global empire of military bases; currently there are US military personnel stationed in some 130 of the 192 member countries of the United Nations on 737 foreign bases.
Senator Rand Paul is one of a handful of members of the Congress that possesses a set of principles. He stands for the principles of the American Revolution — put simply, human liberty. He has challenged the Republicrat establishment by questioning the intended use of unmanned drones to assassinate American citizens, and suggesting actually shrinking the federal government by eliminating some unconstitutional agencies, and reducing federal spending.
The result has been vicious attacks by leaders of the Republican side of the ruling cartel. Epic fail presidential candidate John McCain has referred to Senator Paul as a “whacko bird,” and Senator Lindsey Graham, who has said he’s “glad” that the NSA is spying on every American’s calls and emails, has called Senator Paul’s concerns for civil liberties “ridiculous.” The latest attack has come from Governor Christie who referred to Senator Paul’s “libertarianism” as “dangerous thought.”
The attacks against the Senator are revealing; when it comes to the monolithic and unbridled power of the state over its subjects, the Republicans and Democrats are in complete agreement with their “friends across the aisle.” They love having the power to control every aspect of your personal and business life; They are comfortable with the 150,000-plus pages of federal regulations, hundreds of unconstitutional agencies, government surveillance, perpetual war, confiscatory taxation, and all the other trappings of an authoritarian state. Their only real point of disagreement is who gets to be in charge.
Sure, when it comes to specifics, there are glaring differences. Barack Obama wants to cripple businessmen and destroy the energy industry with taxation and regulation, while Mitt Romney wanted to loosen the government’s stranglehold just enough to keep the producers working to fund the government; but neither candidate would have dreamt of removing the yoke of slavery from American citizens and businesses and returning to a state of liberty as enshrined in the constitution.
The only real concern for the vast majority of our federal masters is maintaining their seats of power and maintaining or enhancing their personal “brand” so as to cash in when they pass through the revolving door from government to a K Street lobbying firm or corporate board of directors. To do this, they stage performances like the debt ceiling debate. The Republicans railed against any unfair increase of the income tax and demanded that the government “live within its means” and cut spending. The Democrats’ role in the show was to champion Social Security and Medicare to “keep our promise to senior citizens” and to demand that greedy rich people “pay their fair share.”
In the end, the Republicrat cartel did exactly what they always do; created a phony “debt crisis,” preened and postured for the cameras and their supporters, made sham “cuts” in spending that are nothing more than reductions in planned spending increases, and heaped trillions of dollars of additional debt on our heads to keep their party going full swing. In the aftermath, the leaders tell their flock they got the best deal they could, given the intransigence of the other side and the pressing nature of the “crisis.”
Americans have labored under the rule of the Republicrats for far too long. Unless and until the Republican side of the ruling cartel is purged of its power-addicted and sycophantic leadership and replaced with men of principle like Senator Rand Paul, or a viable new political party of such men and women emerges, the American state is doomed to continue its death spiral. In the meantime, the American people will sit mesmerized by the kabuki theater debates between the two ruling parties; while they are slowly swallowed in an authoritarian pall of regulation, taxation, and debt. Until one day, they are startled to realize that the last flickering flame of their liberty has been extinguished.
Todd Keister is a former Navy intelligence specialist and author of the upcoming book, A Republic, if you can keep it — A chronicle of the American Counterrevolution.