The best thing about this week is that the political circus we know as election season is finally over! I’m not sure the election itself provides us with very much new information. There was plenty to be concerned about long before this election, and there is still plenty to be concerned about now.
Obama’s reelection is not the end of the world. I do not think Romney would have been the savior (or the end of the world either, depending on how you feel about Romney). The federal government went over the fiscal cliff a long time ago. The debates in Washington DC right now are political theater. The major parties will compromise at the last minute, and the American people will be all the worse off for it.
The US government will continue to police the world. They will continue to bomb innocent civilians overseas. They will continue to impose sanctions. They will continue to start new wars.
Our domestic liberties (or at least what’s left of them) will continue to be trampled under the bi-partisan boots of the increasingly nationalized police-state.
We will survive four more years of Barack Obama. We would have survived four years of Romney. I think economic life will be more difficult now that Obamacare becomes permanently entrenched in the economy. The costs of these programs will soar just like the costs of Medicare and Medicaid have done over the years. Health care will become more expense and harder to access. Everyone’s taxes will be increased. Unemployment will remain high. I am worried about who Obama might appoint to the Supreme Court during his term. I'd also be worried about who Romney would have appointed. I am worried that Obama’s divisive class-warfare rhetoric will continue to distract from the real issues.
All that said, the American people have survived much worse in our brief history. We will survive this.
After really thinking about it, I’m not so much worried about the damage that these policies or these politicians will do. The politicians themselves are a symptom of a much greater problem. I am much more worried about the sustainability of a society of people that would elect these politicians and support these policies. We will have a difficult time surviving as even moderately free people if the prevailing ideological climate is one that is conducive to electing a Barack Obama and (maybe even worse) thinking that a Mitt Romney is actually an alternative to a Barack Obama.
As Monica Perez points out, “Regardless of the labels, from top to bottom, the right now merely offers a different flavor of statism from the left’s, not an alternative to statism itself. What’s worse is that while not providing an alternative to statism, the New Right purposely displaces those who would.”
The Republican establishment has been a failure because they try to secure the power of government to push their own agenda instead of offering a principled alternative to big-government. The Republican establishment today is essentially the right side of the left when it comes to economic policy. They support the same welfare-state policies of the left. They support the economic central planning of the left. This is a strategic mistake because they will never be able to sell socialism better than the socialists. Furthermore, the Republican establishment loses even more support with their constant desire to “morally legislate” people’s private behavior. Across the board the Republican establishment has failed to offer an alternative to the big-government statism of the Democrat establishment. They have actually been extremely hostile to anyone advocating a consistent message of liberty.
The ideological battle is between the peaceful, productive members of society and those that want to live by looting the people who produce. It is a battle between people who believe in freedom of association when it comes to business dealings and romantic involvements against those big-government statists who want to control who we can interact with and how.
The battle is educational. Government reflects the will of the people. As long as people demand or even merely acquiesce to bigger government, they are going to get it. It is the tendency of the state to grow to the maximum size tolerated by the oppressed.
This battle is not won or lost in the voting booth. The leg work has to be done 365 days a year. We need to make sure people understand what we are fighting for and what we are fighting against. We need to educate people about the principles of liberty and sound economics. Our solutions will not come through politics. The solutions will come by helping people to wake up and realize that politics is the problem.
I share the sentiments of economist Robert Murphy when he says, “Whatever you think the best strategy is for gaining liberty, a necessary ingredient is an educated population. So that’s why I focus my efforts on writing articles, rather than pulling a lever in a symbolic ritual setup by the government to fool people into thinking they are free.”
If Romney and Obama were our only two options, we'd be toast. However, those are not our only two options. My job is to help pull the curtain back so you can see that the wizard isn't really a wizard at all. We have the ability to choose freedom.
"The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else." - Frederic Bastiat
p.s. If it makes you feel any better, your vote did not have any impact on determining the winner of the presidential election. See my article last week for more detail, but the crux of the argument is essentially the following:
- My vote will matter in determining the winner if, and only if, it is the tie-breaking vote.
- My vote will not be the tie-breaking vote.
- Therefore, my vote will not matter in determining the winner*.
*Unless you can show that it is reasonably possible that my vote will be the tie-breaker, the conclusion seems to hold that my vote did not matter in determining the winner.