I’ve been watching the news lately with a mix of fascination and horror. Many “Tea Party” conservatives are trying to kill Obamacare, and are threatening to shut down the government to do it. The latest tactic is to threaten to refuse to raise the debt ceiling. It appears that they may be willing to do anything to get their way, including damaging the government and harming the nation. This makes me wonder, what is their end game? What is their ultimate goal? They talk about “limited government” but what does that mean? Where does limited government end, and what is allowed under their view of limited government?
Conservatives used to talk about national defense, but many Tea Party members are isolationists and don’t think we should be involved overseas. Senator Rand Paul wants to eliminate nearly all foreign aid, and shrink the military. Conservatives used to believe in strong national defense, but apparently this new breed of conservatives doesn’t believe in that.
Conservatives also used to believe in “law and order.” But this new breed wants to strip the national government of much of its ability to engage in many domestic law enforcement activities.
Conservatives say they believe in Federalism, but then when a state enacts a policy they don’t like, they howl. But isn’t that Federalism in action? Isn’t the idea of federalism that states should be allowed to govern as they see fit, without interference from the national government? Isn’t it federalism in action when a state, say California, enacts strict green-house gas regulations, or another state, say Washington, passes a law allowing recreational use of pot? It is federalism at its finest (I want to day highest, but that would be a bad pun) but the Tea Party is incensed.
I think the reality is that they don’t want government to doing anything. They don’t like any external force engaging in communal activity that may impact their lives. Some conservatives seem to disparage any group or communal activity, and many Tea Party members share this view in spades. And that makes me wonder, what is their end game? If they win on Federalism, and government devolves to the states, will they then take their fight against government to the state level and try to devolve government to the localities? And what happens then? Will they stop towns and cities and counties from enacting legislation to benefit the community?
When does it stop? When they have eliminated all government? Is that the limit? Do they want to limit government, or eliminate it entirely?