It's an article about a guy who is leaving the Republican Party because it seems to have abandoned its purported ideology. Here's the third paragraph, the part that made me stop short and reread instead of idly skimming.
I still believe in the vast power of markets to inspire ideas, motivate solutions and eliminate waste. I still believe in international vigilance and a strong defense, because this world will always be home to people who will avidly seek to take or destroy what we have built as a nation. I still believe in the protection of individuals and businesses from the influence and expense of an over-involved government. I still believe in the hand-in-hand concepts of separation of church and state and absolute freedom to worship, in the rights of the states to govern themselves without undo [sic] federal interference, and in the host of other things that defined me as a Republican.And my only thought was something like... "Well... so? What's the big secret there?"
As my friends know, I'm very left-wing. I absorbed the libertarianism of P.J. O'Rourke and Robert Heinlein but nothing else, the tolerant secularism of parents who went to church regularly but only because it was a good environment to raise kids in, and the progressiveness of growing up in Vermont and spending a year as an exchange student in France. The child of educators, no less. But in a lot of political discussions I've felt I was talking past the other side, or they were taking something for granted I didn't know. Because I don't see a single thing I'd disagree with in that declaration of why this guy was a longtime Republican.
I still believe in the vast power of markets to inspire ideas, motivate solutions and eliminate waste.
Sure. I don't believe that markets are the only thing that can inspire positive change, and in some cases - a minority of cases but a significant enough number to be worth mentioning - I don't even think they are the best way, but they are obviously, of course, a very powerful force. I mean, duh.
I still believe in international vigilance and a strong defense, because this world will always be home to people who will avidly seek to take or destroy what we have built as a nation.
Of course. I might disagree with him about the details of interventionism and exact reasons why it's appropriate, but it's crystal clear that this country is better than most. And as that bastion of progressiveness Stan Lee said, "With great power comes great responsibility." Enemies as well.
I still believe in the protection of individuals and businesses from the influence and expense of an over-involved government.
Obviously. Even leaving aside the fact that opposition to "over-involved government" is a tautology - if something is over-involved, of course it's bad - this, again, should be very non-controversial. Individual freedom plus market-friendliness.
I still believe in the hand-in-hand concepts of separation of church and state and absolute freedom to worship...
Again, yes. Faith and spirituality are very important, but when an established religion is running the government or vice versa, it's very clear what happens. The Inquisition is just a sampling. And it doesn't have to be on that scale to be abhorrent.
in the rights of the states to govern themselves without undo [sic] federal interference...
This is the closest I'd come to disageeing, and even in this case it's a matter of nuance (a dirty word, I know) rather than principle. The federal system seems like a very good way to advance individual rights by putting the power in the hands of local and smaller governments, but to make a long story short I'm very leery of it when its biggest supporters are so often on the wrong side of history. Do I really, really want to be allied with the people who fly the Confederate flag?
And yet despite all that, I'm strongly left-wing. This country has plenty of room to improve on civil rights and progressive issues and it seems like the Democratic Party is the only party making a serious effort, and the Republican leadership has acted like a bunch of zealously partisan nuts during my adult lifetime, and as I said markets are very important but they aren't the only important force, as most libertarians seem to think.
So how is it that I can agree with an ideological Republican about so much? Everything he's talking about as a defining part of being a Republican, seems to me like it's compatible with or even necessary to being a Democrat. Is he just fundementally misguided about who the Democratic Party is and what it stands for, and he and John Cole and Andrew Sullivan and Eric Hung and Charles Cole (my uncle, no relation to John) are Republicans only because they have bought into the antiquated red-baiting and the slanders coming from Limbaugh and his predecessors? Am I fundementally misguided about the left in America, and they really are the America-hating crypto-Communist spoiled rich kids their detractors imagine? Is one side being deceptive about what its core values are, and I wouldn't agree with them if I knew?
Or, to choose the most charitable possibility available, has the Democratic Party morphed recently into what I think it is, and it previously was what conservatives think it is? Besides the charm of leaving everyone blameless, it's at least a bit plausible, considering how the political landscape has changed in the past 20 years or so. I mean, I'd stake my claim to literacy on the belief that the Democratic Party of today, as a whole, is nothing like the America-hating petulant thought police that right-wing leaders cynically vilify. But I'm only 22 - if they were like that until the Berlin Wall fell and Clinton began triangulating, I would have been in no position to notice.
Via John Cole.