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Principle before party
By Tom DeWeese
Fifty years ago the modern movement to defend the principles of liberty, outlined in the United States Constitution, began. That was when conservatives and libertarians began to stand up to those who advocated government as the answer to the basic questions of life, as opposed to individual responsibility.
The new conservatives advocated individual freedom, free markets, entrepreneurship, and limited government intervention into the everyday lives of American families.
At the time, the Republican Party was the best vehicle for promoting the ideals of the new movement. It was the party of Robert Taft and, later, Jesse Helms and Ronald Reagan. It was the party that preached the gospel of limited government and the Judeo/Christian ideals that are the foundation of Western Culture.
The problem was the Republican Party was also the home of Nelson Rockefeller and the Eastern Establishment elite who advocated their own plans for a welfare state, much like that of the Democrats, only on a slower, smaller basis. They liked the benefits of the money business could provide, but wanted to use government to keep it in check. It was also a handy tool to control your competition.
So a titanic battle between ideologies began for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. Political parties are simply tools for winning elections. The kind of candidates they produce and the policies they advocate are a product of those in control. Conservatives in the middle of the Twentieth Century understood this. They took up the battle cry of "principle before party" and then set out to make sure the Republican Party was true to conservative principles.
However, somewhere along the way, conservative principles got watered down with "Republican" policies. The once mighty conservative grassroots activists have been reduced to taken-for-granted pawns, warned to speak no evil of a fellow Republican. Above all, don't be so childish as to "stand for principle." Do so at the risk of finding the label "extremist" permanently tattooed to your name. We are warned that the alternative to the Republicans are the devil Democrats – and you know what that means! Big government. Uncontrolled spending. Higher taxes. Greater regulations on business. Assaults on family values.
In fear, we comply. Conservatives shuffle their feet, look down at the floor, bleat the party line, accept the "compromises", and acknowledge their fate on the backbenches.
Republicans now have a new agenda. It started with the label of the undefined "compassionate conservatism." Now, the compassionate Republican Administration has ventured on a new path called "National Greatness" with the express purpose of creating an American empire which seeks to re-draw the map of the Middle East and use American might to force American ideals on others. They believe force should not just be limited to the defense of our country.
According to this new policy, big government isn't bad – it just depends
on who is running it. "We can make government great for the American
people as long as we're in charge" goes the Party line. Three years
of complete Republican rule have given us a clear understanding of its meaning.
Close inspection will show that this is not your father's GOP. And it's not
According to Congressman Nick Smith of Michigan, there were threats and
intimidation for him to swallow his convictions that the bill was bad for
America. He was threatened in midnight appeals from House Speaker Dennis
Hastert that, should he vote against the bill, his son, now running for Smith's
seat, would never get elected. Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida, after resisting
phone calls from President Bush, was told that a no vote would delay his
ascent to House leadership by three more years. In the end, only 25 Republicans
stood for the conservative principle that government shouldn't be in the
healthcare business and voted against the Medicare bill. Big government just
got a whole lot bigger under Republican rule.
The Bush Administration, under the "No Child Left Behind" Act
has created more regulations and more funding for federally controlled curriculum
than ever before. The Act itself was basically written by Ted Kennedy. No-Child-Left-Behind
is simply the permanent solidification of the failed policies of Goals 2000,
School to Work and the Workforce Development Act. As a result, American education
is now completely controlled from Washington. The federal education bureaucracy
just got a whole lot more powerful under Republican rule.
President Bush chose not to take that action. Instead, he chose Sustainable
Development, a top-down federal zoning approach designed to restructure American
communities to fit the dictates of the United Nation's Agenda 21 treaty.
As a result of Sustainable Development policies, private, non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) with specific political agendas are now in (partnership)
with elected officials, guiding policy from a central blueprint. As once
guaranteed rights under a rule of law are now pulled and stretched to fit
the current fad policy, homeowners are no longer confident that their property
is secure from new regulations. There is fear that, at any time, their investment
(indeed their home) could suddenly be taken at the whim of newly created
Sustainable policy. Belief in the American dream is dying under Republican
By the way, the German translation of the phrase "Homeland Security" is "Schutz
Staffel." The Nazis shortened it to "SS." A massive, intrusive
cabinet-level agency with power beyond the wildest dreams of Franklin Roosevelt
and Lyndon Johnson combined has just been established under Republican rule.
Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of The DeWeese Report and president
of the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist think tank headquartered
in Warrenton, VA. The Center maintains an Internet site at www.americanpolicy.org. © Tom
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