Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Qui Bono? What Did The Winners Win?


Who benefits by the Democrat sweep in the recently concluded elections? The obvious answer is – Democrats. They won, didn’t they? What have they won?

The Democrats have floated to the top in a state that is sinking to the bottom. Even prominent Connecticut Democrats agree that the stewardship of out-going Governor Dannel Malloy and – very important – a hegemonic Democrat power base in the General Assembly has left the state in a precarious position.

There really is no need to sound the death knell here. All the lurid figures have been paraded often enough before voters: We are among the highest taxed state in the nation; we are leeching entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial capital to neighboring states, not to mention southern economic powerhouse states; we can no longer balance our budgets because state labor costs will always exceed on-hand  revenue -- unless long-term labor costs are permanently reduced, and this cannot be done because the party in power in the General Assembly for more than thirty years is tied politically to the apron strings of powerful state employee unions.

Democrats -- and some Republicans who style themselves economic conservatives but social liberals – have put forward a false dichotomy. In what sense, bright people in Fairfield County, drifting for years from the Republican to the Democrat Party, might ask themselves are economic issues NOT also social issues? Is inferior education in urban schools a social or an economic issue? Are services for the poor a social issue if the state feels compelled to rob poor Peter in social services to pay rich Paul’s state employee costs which, once one includes benefits, are higher than comparable salary and benefit packages in the private sector?        

On so called “social issues,” are there any demarcation lines at all? Can a distinction be made between a first term fetus and a third trimester baby? Please don’t frown; that is what virtually all pregnant women in their third trimester call their late term fetuses – babies. Is the distinction between citizens of the state and leapfrogging illegal aliens a socially useful one? Is a national border a demarcation line on a map only, or may it also be a series of laws, administrative architecture and historical distinctions on the basis of which an intelligent fourth grader may distinguish the United States from, say, Guatemala? Does culture cause poverty, or is poverty maintained by well-intentioned government programs that lock the poor into self-destructive behaviors, which prevent them from leaving the never quite adequate gilded cages in which those concerned with “social issues” have imprisoned them? And what precisely does economics have anything to do with all this?

These are question rarely if ever batted around on the campaign hustings, but they lie, shark-like, just below the surface of our politics. And they are not insignificant and remote questions. Depending upon how they are answered, civilizations will rise and fall. All political questions touch the culture, because it is culture that produces politics. All economic questions are at the same time social questions, because economics shapes culture.

Connecticut Democrats wage political campaigns on what they call social issues, apparently a third rail for Connecticut’s Republican politicians. Two days after Republicans fell to Democrats in the off-year presidential election, glum analysts, mostly Democrats and left-leaning political commentators, reasoned that the social issues of center Republicans – even the slightest defense of the intolerable President Donald Trump, for instance -- had sunk the Republican effort. But there are no Trumpists and only an insignificant number of conservatives in power positions in the General Assembly and, putting aside three or four Connecticut political commentators who might loosely be described as social conservatives, there are precious few right of center reporters writing for newspapers in the state. Yet Connecticut’s Republican Titanic, we are told, has been sunk by an ice cube – by Donald Trump, floating far away in a Washington DC swamp.

Trump is not a conservative; he’s a Trumpian. Those spurning Republican RINOs in Connecticut are, many of them, hapless anti-party enthusiasts. Moderate Republicans in Connecticut have been thoroughly routed by progressive Democrats, and a return to RINOism, Republicans wrapped in social-democrat skins, is worse than a council of despair; it is a call to political immolation. Republicans in Connecticut who forswear an honest debate on social issues are essentially dishonest, liars in the marrow of their bones, whitened sepulchers. That is why so few of the wards of the Democrat Party in Connecticut’s major cities flock to the Republican banner.

Have fiscal conservative Republicans nothing to say to the person sitting in darkness in our fatherless cities? Do they not hear the wail of the unborn as babies succumb to doctors stabbing their brains? To the poor and wretched, it would appear, they offer a deafening silence, while Democrats, stuffing their own campaign chests with the tears of the wretched, easily converted into campaign cash, offer them only eternal dependence and gilded cages.

This is the stuff of which revolutions are made. But to make a revolution, you must have revolutionists, a Sam Adams – who cared more about liberty than economics; having given everything to the revolution, including his own personal fortune, his band of brothers in Boston had to pass the hat to buy him a set of respectable clothes, so that he could appear in Philadelphia other than in rags -- rather than a social issue spurning Republican or a Democrat who wants to keep their charges in an infantile state, the better to mother them with suffocating embraces.

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