To Save America, Ten (or Eleven) Point Plans Aren’t Enough
In 1994, Newt Gingrich put out a ten-point plan called The Contract with America. It was a primary feature of that year’s mid-term Republican wave. Every part of that plan was implemented. And today it’s a dead letter. We have hard-Leftists controlling all three branches of the federal government, and active programs to destroy the America we grew up in everywhere.
Plans are worth bupkis. We need something different, not another plan.
Senator Rick Scott has an excellent eleven-point plan. Even if it is implemented, it will suffer the same fate as the Contract with America. Self-serving, power-mad Leftists will find their way to sabotage it bit by bit, taking us even farther down the road to perdition. The problem is very simple. We lack the two elements that are absolutely necessary to prevent the irresistible slide to destruction.
The first task is a statement of principles. The Republican Party, the only presently viable alternative to the Marxists, is simply Democrat-lite. That’s because we allow almost anyone to run with an “R” behind their name. “Republican” candidates are not required to declare any principles whatever. That’s how we get big-government soft liberals like John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Susan Collins. McCain torpedoed ObamaCare’s repeal. Romney voted to impeach Trump over bogus charges, and now Collins has declared that she will vote to confirm radical leftist Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court.
It’s no wonder that my wife has openly questioned the wisdom of voting for Republicans. “They don’t do anything anyway!” In short, they are Republi-Crats. Current RINOs would make FDR look like a right-wing lunatic. JFK would be a conservative Republican.
If we’re going to rescue America from its slide into darkness, it’s imperative that the Republican Party adopt a declaration of principles. The best place to search for those principles would be in the debates the Founders had over the Constitution. This would comport well with our recent emphasis on “originalism” for Supreme Court nominees. Those original debates contain a wealth of well-considered discussions of human nature and law.
The first principle is that the Constitution is designed to limit the power of the federal government. The Founders were painfully aware of the fact that those in power tend to seek more power. It is rare for any of them to be content with self-governing citizens. As Lord Acton noted, power corrupts. As it becomes absolute power, then the level of corruption becomes equally absolute. The only solution to this universal law is to prevent the aggregation of power.
The Founders created a list of enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8. These powers were meant to perform tasks that the central government was far better suited to than state governments. These are described as being for “the common Defense and general Welfare” of the United States. But, as some feared, the Supreme Court adopted “the general welfare” as an excuse to rubber-stamp anything Congress passed. The doctrine of enumerated powers has been buried.
We must exhume limitations on DC. Thus, the Republican National Committee must adopt a permanent principle that, if an action is not within the list of enumerated powers beginning after “general welfare,” it is not proper for the feds to do it. Period. And that means that a lot of DC must be scaled back or eliminated.
Image: Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy. Public domain.
One simple example is education. It’s not on the list, and primary education is done a lot better at the local level. College education is also better away from DC. Primary education has become a cash cow for unions and colleges suckle at the public trough from student loans that impoverish kids in school. But “It’s for the general welfare.” Not!
This example points out another huge problem. Whatever a Republican Congress does this year, a Democrat Congress can undo the next. So, we must place a clarifying limit in the Constitution. With our radically divided Congress, no constitutional amendment can ever be put forward. But Article V provides an alternate route. If 34 states call for a Convention of States, that body can propose Amendments that Congress cannot block. If 38 states ratify a proposed Amendment, it becomes part of the Constitution. Yes, it’s hard, but intentionally so. That’s how we only get Amendments that have wide support.
The list is far too long for this missive, but a couple of other principles cannot be overlooked. A real Republican will recognize that the First Amendment guarantees even the right to offensive or “hate” speech. That means that being “triggered” is not an offense by the speaker but a response of the hearer, and no law can stop it. It also guarantees the “free exercise” of religion. That means that you can be a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or whatever in the public square, limited only by the actual rights of others.
Speaking of rights, a real Republican must also recognize that a right is freedom of action. It is never a guarantee of any goods or services. When those are provided by others it must always be charity, not a right. If it becomes a right, then it must first be forcibly taken from someone who produces it in order to give it to someone else.
The American Dream is the idea that you are free to work hard to make a better life, and not have it stolen from you by the government. Republicans must fully subscribe to this principle. Yes, government must have taxes, but that funding must be as small as possible to do the least amount necessary. As Henry David Thoreau said, “That government is best which governs least.”
For the Republican Party to gain the trust of Americans, not just their votes in a given year, it must become a party of principle first. If it does, it will assume power in DC for a long time. If it does not then abandon those principles, America will be much better off.
Perhaps Ayn Rand’s query is on point. “Who is John Galt?”
Ted Noel MD is a retired Anesthesiologist/Intensivist who podcasts and posts on social media as DoctorTed and @vidzette. His DoctorTed podcasts are available on iHeart, Stitcher, Pandora and other channels.