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The RNC’s dilemma-Steele or the true Republic

Given the ‘money-is-god’ priorities lurking behind the supposed political pragmatism of the forces still in control of the GOP, it’s not surprising that some are now openly seeking the resignation of RNC chair Michael Steele on account of what they see as his liberal abuse of contributors’ money.  They rightly understand the incongruity of such perceived abuse from the man supposed to be the chief spokesman for the a electoral strategy going all in behind an approach that seeks to make the Obama faction’s fiscally insane tax and spend mania pretty much the exclusive focus of the 2010 elections.

These forces don’t play up the fact that, in the institutional environment of the RNC under Steele’s influence, a young staffer apparently saw no risk or incongruity connected with using RNC funds for a bash at a faux orgiastic lesbian themed nightclub, complete with simulated girl-girl sex.  No matter that it was likely to promote the perception that homosexuality is just good, clean fun- the enthusiastic choice of elite and spirited young GOPers, with time and an RNC expense account on their hands.

The RNC staffer’s apparent indifference to the moral perception created by the expenditure raises an uncomfortable question.  Since his first day in office Chairman Steele has been hawking a particular brand of political Kool-Aid.  Its primary ingredient: the 80-20 percent solution to the conundrum of candidate selection, resulting in candidates who attach little importance to issues of moral principle like the defense of innocent life, or maintaining laws that respect the unalienable rights of the natural family.  Was the staff gaffe a natural child of the current GOP leadership’s quietly evident “let them eat cake” smugness toward moral conservatives?  Though they undoubtedly make up a majority of the GOP’s grassroots base, the RINOs choose not to worry about their sensibilities.  After all, what choice what do the folks they have misnamed ‘values voters’ have but to back the much hyped pro-choice, pro-“gay marriage” Scott Brown types the RINO leadership wants people to believe are the ‘great white hope‘ for the GOP’s return to power in Washington?

Of course, the real problem isn’t that they are arrogantly content to leave the GOP’s moral conservatives with no choice for good conscience.  It’s that they leave America with no choice for true liberty.  Free choice “libertarianism” is as close as they come.  Basically that’s the view that defines liberty as the right to make as much money as you can and use it for whatever you please.  It’s the not-just-orthographically recognizable cousin of “libertinism”, a self-indulgent ‘lifestyle’ that tacitly assumes some kind of access to a generous spigot of cash or credit.

Unlike Obama’s socialists, the libertarians at least have the decency to believe that it should be your own money.  But they blithely discard the moral understanding that draws the line of propriety between free use of your own belongings, and the criminal expropriation of OPP (other people’s property.)  They obstinately ignore the connection between right and rights and, the consequent need for an authoritative principle that allows us to recognize the first and make just use of the second.  Though many such libertarians profess to be great admirers and supporters of the U.S. Constitution, they disclaim all knowledge of the principle of right asserted by the generation that produced it, which was quite simply the authority of the Creator, Ruler and Judge of the universe.

If God is the principle of right, then we are bound to limit our use of the rights derived from that principle to actions consistent with God’s authority, from which those rights derive.  If we define liberty as the exercise of rights, then it necessarily involves this self-limitation, which is therefore the first manifestation of self-government.  Indeed, it gives us the root meaning of the term.  Though they pretend to be strong proponents of limited government, many self-styled libertarians ignore or willfully reject the fact that the imperatives of self-government provide the logical, reasonable basis for insisting on it.

Adolescent impatience with interference from ‘nanny government’ isn’t enough.  It may be superficially popular (especially in times inclined toward libertinism,) but it’s not a serious justification for opposing government actions that will plausibly do some good.  It won’t relieve the moral opprobrium and collective guilt of letting penniless people starve, or homeless people die from exposure.  The rhetorical juxtaposition of collective decency with stingy individual or corporate selfishness is what too often allows so-called liberals to take the moral high ground above conservatives.  Their positional victory in this regard at least partially explains why RINOs and phony conservatives are reluctant to deal with moral issues.

But the money obsession that prevails because of this reluctance plays right into the hands of the totalitarian government minded socialists.  It validates the materialistic premises that inform their view of history, and their otherwise untenable understanding of justice.  They pose as champions of the just grievances of the oppressed masses.  But their actions ultimately reconstruct mass oppression.  They concentrate power in the hands of the few- a new ruling class with just a change of characters and an ideology that substitutes the verdict of history for the divine right of kings.

The American idea of liberty is based on the divinely sourced unalienable rights of all people.  In light of this idea, the power of the few, however rhetorically justified, no longer suffices to legitimize law and government.  Legitimacy requires the consent of the people ascertained and implemented by institutions built to respect, incorporate and exercise their capacity for self-government.  Because God is the source of their unalienable rights, this exercise first of all involves respect for what is right, as established by the provisions of His will (the natural law.)

The politics of true liberty must therefore give priority to upholding and defending the Constitution and the laws that implement this respect.  These represent the collective goods, the goods the whole people have in common: the true ‘res publica’.  When will there once again be a Party in America that raises the standard of this true republic; one that not only claims its name, but thinks, speaks and acts for the sake of its deeply rooted moral identity and purpose?  Though I am no longer a ‘Republican’, and never could be a ‘Democrat’, I shall in my heart always be a citizen of that ‘democratic republic’. It was our Founders’ vision and it remains as Lincoln said, “the last ‘best hope’ of earth.”  Relying, as they did, on faith in the God who made us, I will go on striving for that hope, trusting that, moved by the same love that created us, God will help to keep us free.  But He won’t do so unless we let Him, because freedom requires our consent.  If the so-called Republicans start living up to their name, they will look for an RNC head who symbolizes that affirmation of God’s goodwill.  When they find that person, they’ll have a truly good reason to ask Michael Steele to step down.

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