Bill Maher found precisely the correct term to describe the conservative Republican ethos: church.
All churches are based on faith. Faith means confidence not based on truth. This is precisely what defines today’s Republicans. They are utterly immune to truth, and cannot be swayed by mere facts. No matter how many times the Rapture is confidently predicted and does not occur, the faithful do not lose faith. So it is with the Republican faith.
This is a discouraging realization to Democrats, who have always functioned as if the government’s policies and practices were amenable to some degree of rational thinking. Basically it means that all government is reduced to the exercise of power. If you do not believe that this is the case, please explain why the primary goal of the Republicans, the only goal, has been to oppose each and every thing the Democrats, and particularly president Obama, propose. This is their official, stated, policy. Anything the Democrats propose falls on deaf ears, because Republicans are ideologically opposed regardless of the virtue of the proposal. Obviously, nobody is doing any thinking.
The good of the country and its people is not part of this exercise. Republicans embrace a whole range of beliefs that have been shown repeatedly to be incorrect. Among these is a belief that the so-called Free Market is the answer to everyone’s economic hopes, that the best way to enrich all of us is by doing away with restrictions on business, and that by making the rich even more rich, we will all benefit—the “trickle-down” theory. These beliefs are simply wrong.
As Cambridge University’s Ha-Joon Chang tells us in his book, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, the free market does not exist. We think it is free because we no longer see the underlying restrictions. Nor is a controlled market necessarily worse. During the most beneficial economic period in our history, we very tightly controlled commerce both within the country and with other nations. Removing the rules that control commerce may result in higher profit for the rich, but for the rest of us everything is diminished. If “trickle-down” actually trickled down, the historically great wealth of the rich today would have made us all better off. It’s not hard to see that it has done the opposite.
With today’s Republicans in total charge of the government, the functioning of the government would not be rational. Everything might just as well be left up to a Republican committee of the ideological faith, something like what Iran has. Consider this: Every president after WWII reduced the national debt. Until Ronald Reagan. From Reagan on, every Democratic president reduced the national debt, and every Republican president increased it. The contribution of Reagan and the two Bush presidents has been to add $8.2-trillion to the national debt. Only now are Republicans complaining, trying to blame president Obama for the Republican debt. They don’t want to change those things that caused the increase in debt, but by cutting important services, particularly to the poor. Would anyone like another serving of hypocrisy?
The Republican ideological plan has had thirty years to come to fruition. In every instance, conditions have worsened for everyone but the very rich.
It sort of reminds me of the Castro brothers and their unshakable faith in the Cuban Revolution. Only after half a century of radical failure went by under their dictatorial control did they begin to see that The Plan wasn’t quite working the way their ideology said it was supposed to. The current Republican ideology has had only thirty years of failure to convince them. Do you suppose another twenty years will make them see the light, or will faith conquer all?