How to Win this One in November
Tibor R. Machan
Seeing that it looks like Mitt Romney may well win the Republican nomination–though it’s too early to be sure about that–It has been a concern of freedom loving Americans whether the nod given to human individual liberty by the Tea Party back in 2010 will have staying power. When the Republicans began their primaries it looked like one or another of the champions of serious liberty, such as former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson or Texas representative Ron Paul, could either make it or at least have an influence on who will. This last is still a possibility but not very likely now. With Gingrich injecting the influence of the Beltway Republican insiders into the race and with Mitt Romney derailing any progress toward a consistent political philosophy of liberty among Republicans, prospects for repeating, let alone enhancing, the central trends represented by the Tea Party–which itself has never been fully focused on true liberty–are waning. And that is very disturbing because it looks more and more like Barack Obama has no interest whatever in individual rights, in a bona fide free society and market, or even in civil liberties. What he is after is a populist reformation of the American polity, one that will usher in democratic socialism, with its confusing “market” socialism added.
This is the politics of soft Marxism; which is to say it aims to establish a legal order that’s basically collectivist, communitarian to the core. The idea is that all Americans should be treated as one huge team lead by Obama or some similar minded politician and his or her cronies, with all property (including human labor) treated as public or social, with the serious implementation of the major step Marx and Engels identified on the road to socialism, namely, the abolition of the right to private property. The modern explication of this idea was laid out by NYU professors Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel, in their book The Myth of Ownership (Oxford 2002). It is an unabashed attack on the principles of free market economics and individualism (i.e., on a system of law based on Lockean individual rights).
OK, is there any chance to nipping all this in the bud? I can only think of one way to do it, namely, to conduct a political campaign that is relentlessly focused on the threat of the loss of American liberty not just in American but around the globe. This liberty is the true hope of humanity, no the egalitarian nonsense that Obama & Co. preach. What it needed is to run an articulate, self-confident, and unapologetic campaign that emphasizes the minimalist thesis of liberty as against the totalitarian thesis that all of us must be herded into a collective mass (of which the best current manifestation is North Korea).
If the Republican candidate for the presidency, or per chance someone else with sufficient support, keeps to this theme and forthrightly refuses to get entangled with side issues like illegal immigration, funding Planned Parenthood, etc., etc.–details that can easily be made to serve to distract Americans from what really is politically important–there is a chance of unseating Obama and his team in time to continue the momentum of the American revolution. The candidate to do this may not yet be in evidence but whoever it will be needs to focus clearly and be superbly articulate and intellectually competent in the effort to advance the cause of liberty.
Now Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney do not sound bad in debate and on the campaign trail but their ideas are muddled and so their leadership is seriously wanting when it comes to opposing Obama’s populist appeal. That appeal rests on phony hopes and aspirations, on false promises and on magical economics. But packaged in the cool style and rhetoric of Obama and absent competent challenge, it can continue to take the country toward a major setback on the road to realizing its destiny, the fulfillment of the ideas of the Declaration of Independence and, less exactly, the Bill of Rights. It is this mission that must be the candidate’s central purpose, put in the clearest and most informed terms that American citizens can appreciate and support. I am convinced it has a chance in November.