A Daily Dose of Reason reader writes:
Gov. Scott Walker [who just won the recall election in Wisconsin] is not an advocate of individual rights–but just another “pro-business” religious conservative. Considered from a long-term perspective, it would have been less damaging for Wisconsin, and for the country as a whole, if he had been thrown out of office.
Dr. Hurd’s reply:
I don’t agree.
Walker may be religious. So what? All conservatives are religious, and most liberals are religious. Many liberals use religion to justify their socialism. If Walker is ruled out because he’s religious, then this rules out probably all candidates ever to come.
I supported Walker, and would have voted for him if I lived in Wisconsin, because he took a rare and principled stand against a key component of Big Government—specifically, the government employee labor unions. He took a principled stand that mattered, at least in this one major case. When the rare politician does this, it’s important to support him or her.
Perhaps Walker will contradict himself in future policies and actions. Perhaps he’ll fall for that most common of Republican Party diseases, trying to be liked by and fit in with people who only care about expanding Big Government. If so, that would be regrettable. But it does not change the fact that he took the stands he did last year, stayed the course and won for mostly the right reasons.
The case for supporting someone like Walker is the same as the case for opposing someone like Obama. Obama is also a rare politician, in that he takes a philosophical stand. He stated repeatedly, first in his campaign and later as President, that we ARE all our brother’s keepers, that self-interest is evil, and that the role of government is to enforce these beliefs. He ran against not just Bush’s policies, but against a philosophy. This philosophy which he opposed (and which Bush did not actually practice) included freedom of association, freedom of property and individual rights. Obama’s victory was a disaster because it was so explicitly philosophical, and based on the worst philosophy there is.
I cannot imagine making the claim, ‘Considered from a long-term perspective, it would be less damaging for the United States if Obama wins a second term.’ Seriously? You’re not making that claim in your comment about Scott Walker, but your reasoning implies such a conclusion about Obama.
If Adolf Hitler were alive today and ran for office against a pragmatic and flawed conservative, such as Mitt Romney, what would you do? Would you vote for Hitler, on the premise that, ‘It’s better for the long-run if Romney loses, because he’s not perfect.’ I would rush to vote for Romney. Why? To undercut the evil of Hitler. If Romney won, I would proceed to criticize him for all his compromises and evasions, once in office. But I’d still be happy we didn’t have Hitler.
It works in the other direction, too. Walker became known for standing up to the redistributionist, bullying labor unions in Wisconsin. By supporting him in the recall election, you’re not supporting any of his wrong positions. It’s possible to support someone in a qualified way. For example, ‘I support the direction he’s taking us, even if not every one of his positions.’
You’re saying we’d be better off in the long-run if Walker had lost his recall election. I don’t know how that could be. The loss would have been interpreted as a mandate, in Wisconsin and probably elsewhere, to never take on the Big Government lobbies, especially unions. These unions would grow in strength, if anything. Socialist, Obama-like liberals would set the agenda and even when Republicans were in office, government would keep growing as it always had. Socialists and liberals would become bolder, not weaker.
Walker’s loss has really made a lot of liberals angry. There are even death threats against Walker. It’s good to make liberals this angry, because it’s about time they finally got at least a little bit of real opposition. Don’t you think the only hope for the country is for the Republican Party to start setting a fiscal and government agenda entirely opposite of the Democrats, who have set the agenda for both parties for at least a century? If so, then you owe it to yourself to support any candidate who attempts to reverse course.
I will disagree with Scott Walker, or any other candidate, where they’re wrong. But you’re mistaken when you say that he’s ‘just another’ pragmatic, weeny Republican. George W. Bush would never have taken on the labor unions; in fact, he fed teachers’ unions billions of dollars in the ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation he signed. Mitt Romney and John McCain are no different. Supporting Walker is a way of telling Republicans, ‘We want you to move in this direction.’ Walker went in the opposite direction of all Democrats, and of most Republicans to date.
Principles help us distinguish between right and wrong. A principle is an absolute. For example, ‘It’s always wrong to initiate force against another.’ But we have to make rational distinctions when applying principles. The labor union movement is wrong to the core, and generally filled with rotten people. It’s a legalized mafia, forcing people to be members and forcing productive citizens to pay their way. Walker may be flawed, but he was courageous when standing up to the unions. Whenever you have the chance, you must fight evil with the modestly good—even if you’d prefer to fight it with the great.