Judge Napalitano often says and writes that the Democrats and Republicans represent two branches of one “big government” party. I heartily agree with this sentiment, but I would like to expand on it just a bit.
In his book, “The Road to Serfdom”, F. A. Hayek writes,
“What in effect unites the socialists of the Left and the Right is this common hostility to competition and their common desire to replace it by a directed economy.”
This, I believe, is the core of our problem. We have two branches of a “Washington First” party who believe that the solution to any problem begins with a directive out of Washington, DC. They may disagree about which directive to issue, but they are in absolute agreement that a directive is in order.
The Republican branch of the Washington First party talks about freedom and limited government, but their actions give lie to their words. What they really believe when they say “limited government” is that Washington will partner with the corporate sector to lead us to prosperity.
The Democrat branch of the Washington First party talks about civil rights and equality, but their actions give lie to their words. What they really believe when they say, “equality”, is that Washington will partner with labor and other special interests to lead the poor out of poverty.
The commonality between the factions is the foundational belief that solutions to problems originate in Washington, DC. And this is exactly why both of their beliefs are impossible. You cannot legislate prosperity and you cannot legislate an end to poverty.
Milton Friedman said it best in the video clip below. His words are still true today,
“The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus… in the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it’s in exactly the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”
This is why Washington cannot lead us out out of poverty or into prosperity, despite all of their promises to the contrary. Whether it’s the Democrat division or the Republican division, the Washington First Party will only lead us where we don’t want to go. More than any plan that the geniuses in Washington can come up with, freedom promotes the common good and the general welfare. The way for Washington to lead is for Washington to get out of the way. If they won’t do it on their own (which it seems clear that they won’t), then our state governments need to insist.
Prosperity, Liberty and the curtailment of poverty each rise and fall together with the Tenth Amendment. If you believe in prosperity…. if you believe in freedom… if you detest poverty, then let’s put an end to Washington Firsters. Uphold the Tenth Amendment!