Extreme is a Good Thing

Of all the stupid things said in political Washington D.C., few are as ridiculous as the claim that a government shutdown, or government spending cuts, will “harm” the American economy. 

Such a statement relies on the most false premise imaginable: That government creates wealth. This is plainly untrue. Government cannot create wealth. This false idea, in American history, goes back to the semi-fascist administrations of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These two Presidents believed, as does the current one, that government organization is the key to economic prosperity. According to this point-of-view,

wealth is created by the efficiency of politicians, not by individuals in the private sector. Political goals (left-wing ones, always) are, according to this view, what generate economic growth — not self-interest, profit or a simple desire for personal success.

Tell that to any successful entrepreneur or innovator in the history of mankind. Try to find such innovators in the halls of government. You won’t find any. The only people you find in government are people willing to take credit for the accomplishments of others.

Government attracts the least capable and the least morally qualified men and women in the land. Case in point: Any politician in Washington D.C, especially the established career politicians on the left side (and sometimes the right side) of the aisle.

In a recent interview, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) complained that House GOP leaders are intimidated by the tea parties. ‘The Tea Party is dictating a lot that goes on in the Republican leadership in the House,” he said. This is supposed to be a self-evidently horrible thing.

The Tea Party, while largely ineffective so far at slashing budgets, does still represent a strong alternative to the philosophy of Big Government that has dominated Washington D.C. for decades, since at least the time of Wilson and Roosevelt. When Harry Reid and others like him complain about the Tea Party, what they’re really saying is, “They’re questioning the premise that government creates wealth. We don’t like that.” Of course people who have built their entire careers on the premise that government creates wealth don’t like it. It would put them out of a job, literally and figuratively. But it’s the truth.

Other Big Government Senators have labeled Tea Party types as “extreme.” The label itself is supposed to disarm them and inhibit all debate. Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips got it half-right when he said, in reply: “I think radical and extreme is driving the country into bankruptcy which is what the Democrats want to do… You want to talk about radical and extreme, talk about Harry Reid. That is radical and extreme.’

I say “half-right” because the error of any political point-of-view does not lie in how extreme it is. “Extreme” means consistent. The only world in which extreme would always be bad would be a world in which no idea is right, and objective knowledge is not possible. If truth is impossible, then consistency is beside the point and even bad. Liberals and socialists claim that truth is subjective and impossible to know for sure, but in practice they’re quite convinced that they are right and that their will — ObamaCare, cap and trade, and all their other programs — should be imposed on everyone. Liberals are consistent in practice,  but they still deny the value of consistency in theory. This is the fallacy the Tea Party should expose.

A better reply from the Tea Party would have been: “We are extreme, if by extreme you mean consistent and principled. Our principle is that the role of government should be limited to its original Constitutional principles. Big Government as we know it must be phased out. That’s the only way to balance the budget. You cut spending by limiting government. You limit government because individuals have a right to be left free to pursue happiness without government running most everything that goes on. If by extreme you mean excessive, it’s not us who are being excessive. We’re the ones who want to limit government. Harry Reid and people like him want to expand government until both our government and the private economy are bankrupt beyond repair. In fact, that’s where we are. What’s Harry Reid’s solution?’

Liberals and socialists keep arguing the same old things because they never are booted out of office. Harry Reid himself warded off a Tea Party challenge last year. Increasingly, it looks like America will need more than a tea party to restore a constitutional government. It will take a revolution, in the hearts and the minds of the people — like the first one.

It’s not our government that needs to be overthrown, but the vast majority of our government’s policies. Policies come from ideas, and ideas are rooted in principles. Yes, principles are extreme ‘ and proudly so.