The Era of American Consensus

May 29, 2009

Once upon a time there were two political parties.  These political parties came from different “sides” of the political spectrum and professed different ideologies.  One was “conservative” and one was “liberal”;  yet each introduced and enacted policies that expanded the national government’s role in areas like health care and banking.

You would be slightly mistaken if you thought this was a reference to the United States.  In fact,  it refers to the period of consensus in British political culture that lasted from the end of WWII until the Thatcher era.

Like the British era of consensus, America is experiencing an era of consensus politics as well.  For the past few decades both Democratic and Republican administrations have instrumentally moved the country towards a centralized government with sweeping powers in many formerly private sectors.

The George W. Bush administration was a champion of government expansion.  The aftermath of 9/11 saw the creation of the Homeland Security Agency, a behemoth of a bureaucracy that sucks money like a vacuum.  Bush 43 also quickly passed a 700 billion dollar rescue plan for banks, which was subsequently followed by the Obama administration’s plan to buy parts of banks and auto companies.

The Republicans, it is said, are in disarray.  I prefer to take a more rosy outlook.  There has been no time quite like the present to reaffirm our belief in individual liberty–from abortion to gay marriage–free markets, and an effective but small federal government.  It seems obvious that this should be the path of the New Republican party.  America was founded, after all,  on strong individual character–think George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, etc.

In the face of an ever-expanding federal bureaucracy,  it should be our priority as Americans first, and Republicans second, to reiterate those things which have made our country truly great:  individual liberty and accountability, smart fiscal policy, strong defense, wise governance, and the rights of states.

Advertisements