Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Latin American model

I've got a personal theory about what the leadership of the Republican party wants to achieve in America. After listening to Grover Norquists, AEI, and all the other right-wingers for too many years, I think it's pretty clear that they want the United States to look like your "average" Latin American state. In other words, they want a highly economically and socially stratified country with virtually no upward mobility. They want a country with a giant, complacent underclass; a miniscule and frightened middle class; ineffectual regulatory mechanisms; no social safety net; a subservient judiciary; a powerful military; and a tiny, oligarchical group of powerful families. Why is that?

I think it's because the Republican party leadership has forgotten that the American government, ultimately, is an institution that was created to protect the commonwealth of its citizens, all its citizens. I believe that the Republican party leadership has swallowed, hook, line and sinker, the most abhorrent aspects of crass materialism, social darwinism, and free-market capitalism. Unwilling to accept or unable to see any limits (or negative effects) to these three ideologies, they would like to create a state in which they are allowed to operate unfettered except for the dictates of their own feckless consciences. I suspect that, at their heart, the Republican leadership believes that they will end up in the "ruling class" and escape unharmed from whatever ills might be wreaked by the ethically and morally bankrupt system they'd like to create.

I know, it sounds like some sick amalgam of Charles Dickens and Philip K. Dick. Perhaps the previous paragraph is a little overblown, the rhetoric a bit too wild. Nonetheless, I don't see any other way to interpret the legislative and political trends this Republican party has come to embrace and promote.