Nancy Pelosi Gets It

In the current budget battles, former and (she hopes) future Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spoke of going for a “higher ground, not a middle ground.” She’s referring to calls by the Republican leaders and others for an elusive middle ground.

You know you’re in trouble when the bad guys understand the principles at stake better than the supposed good guys. Nancy Pelosi gets it. She understands that the right thing and the practical thing to do are one and the same. Most of her liberal colleagues even say, “Well, spending more for government programs is the right thing — it’s just not necessarily practical.” But Pelosi sees the two as compatible. 

Of course, she’s completely wrong about what is moral and right. What she calls compassion for the elderly is actually slavery, using the force of government

to coerce some people to pay for the services of others — trillions of dollars in services, to be exact. What she calls something for nothing in actuality is killing our budget, our currency and even our very economic solvency. What good are trillions of dollars in social and medical services if the money used to pay for them becomes worthless, from inflation and other unintended or evaded consequences of driving the budget deficits so high?

Unfortunately, Pelosi’s call to go to the higher ground rather than the compromising middle ground is a showstopper for the Tea Party — unless the Tea Party steps up and says, “You’re right, Nancy. We ought to go to the higher ground. The higher ground is liberty and freedom for the individual.” At that point, Pelosi and her fellow liberals would be forced to argue why coercion and the resulting moral and fiscal bankruptcy they endorse are right. They would be forced to reconcile their socialistic compulsion with the freedom of individuals in a liberty-based society to be left alone — where they can voluntarily choose to help whomever they want, but never be forced.

As much as I like some aspects of the Tea Party, I don’t see them doing this. I certainly don’t see the often tearful John Boehner — “No government shutdown on my watch!” — doing it. When politicians call for a “middle ground” what they’re really doing is compromising away any principles they claimed to have. They’re saying, in essence, “I know I said ObamaCare is wrong; but I didn’t really mean it. I know I said that the government deficit is a disaster and must be eliminated; but I didn’t really mean it.” They’ll claim they’re just being realistic. And of course it’s true that a Republican House cannot make a socialist and liberal Senate and White House go their way. But they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do, either. It’s up to the House to fund the government. If the House wants to keep only the bare essentials of the federal government going for the next two years, until the next election — why then, that’s fine. If they really believe we should have a severely limited and strictly Constitutional government, then what’s wrong with doing what’s required to get one?

Nancy Pelosi may be something of a caricature, and I frankly detest her more than just about anyone else in the Congress. But I’m sorry to say that she makes more sense at the moment than anyone else. She asserts that principle is practical. That if what you’re doing is right, it will work in the end. The fact that her principles are completely irrational, wrong and fiscally unsound offers little comfort over the fact that her opposition seems to be acting just as Republicans have always acted. “Please get along with us.”

There’s not going to be a balanced budget without a principled defense of individual rights. Limited and inexpensive government does not create freedom. The moral justification for freedom results in a necessarily limited government. Right now, liberals and conservatives alike share the underlying premise that helping others is the most important purpose of human existence. They take it for granted that when government — like an organized super-Mafia – transfers wealth from those who own it to those who merely feel entitled to it, that “help” is what always takes place.

The only opposition I hear from Republicans to the disaster that is our modern redistributive state is, “We’ve got to balance the budget.” Nancy Pelosi begs to differ. She says there are more important things than balancing the budget. So do I. She says the more important value is more collectivism, more socialism, more government. I say the more important value is the right of the individual. Pelosi has the wrong answer, but at least she knows the question.