Incrementalism: The Potential Death Of This Country…

And Its Potential Salvation

Today (10 April), Rick Santorum dropped out of the primary contest for the GOP’s presidential nomination, leaving the field clear for Romney to cinch the nomination as there are no other credible opponents left.

Those who know me know I was never particularly thrilled with any of the GOP entrants into this election’s race. Too many “moderates”; too many RINOs (Hunstman, for example); too many wing nuts (Gingrich, Paul); not enough classic Reagan conservatives (not one I can think of).

That having been said, think about what Romney’s nomination really means.

Our country is poised on the brink of national suicide due to the socialist policies proposed – and in many cases, enacted – by the leftists. How did we get here? That’s a question due some real consideration.

The seeds of modern “progressivism” were sown by Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, but they didn’t flower until FDR, and his then-radical notions of Social Security, deficit spending for the New Deal, and his other government work programs. Think about that; there was a time when Social Security was actually considered “radical”.

Now look at the kinds of programs we have that are currently under consideration, or have been enacted into law. A “healthcare” law that forces people to buy a product under threat of government penalty (Obamacare), and which effectively nationalizes the medical industry and 17% of our GDP; a national debt that exceeds our annual GDP; a “national security” law that allows the US military, on American soil, to arrest and incarcerate American citizens without trial, and effectively suspends the right of habeas corpus; all the way down to laws that dictate to us what kind of light bulbs we’re allowed to use in our own homes and what kind of bags we’re permitted to use when we go grocery shopping.

If any of these laws had been proposed 80 years ago when FDR was President, do you think there’s any chance they’d have actually been adopted? Of course not! Anyone who proposed such ideas would have been laughed out of town, if not tarred and feathered.

But 80 years of incrementalism – the constant erosion and chipping away at our rights and traditional American values and ideals – have made each and every one of them a possibility, if not an actual reality.

Clearly, I – and many like me – would have loved to have seen the GOP field a candidate around whom we could have rallied and who would have taken a strong position to reverse this devastating trend. But here’s a bit of political reality: it took us 80 years to get into this mess, and it’s very possible that the radical changes that have to take place to reverse it simply aren’t practically possible to achieve in one four- or eight-year administration. A candidate who advocated essentially burning things to the ground to return to sanity would have a hard time actually winning the election, first of all. More importantly, it took us 80 years as a society to transform into what we are now, and it’s going to take at least a couple of decades to reverse the damage in a way that won’t itself cause massive damage. Institutions, as well as individuals, are going to have to be given time to remake their own circumstances and practices to accommodate the changes we as a country have to make in order to survive the mess we’ve made of things.

And that may, in fact, mean that Romney is the right guy at the right time. No, he’s certainly not Reagan; no, he’s not an innately traditional conservative. But he is a practical guy who understands the problems we face, is a political realist, and as a successful businessman understands the economic issues at hand. He won’t burn down the house, but I think he will start the pendulum swinging back.

And let me address the “Reagan issue” for a moment. Most people forget that as Governor of California, Reagan signed some pretty “liberal” laws into effect. Yet look at how he performed as President. There’s often a big difference between being a Governor and a President: different issues; different governmental powers and functions in play; and different constituencies between a provincial state office and a national office.

It’s time to put an end to the internecine battle on the right over the nomination that’s simply giving Obama and the leftists sound bites they can distort in their campaign ads for their desperate bid to retain power.

Let’s move on.


© Brian Baker 2012