Everything has a logic, even illogic. Logic, after all, is only the art of laying out the consequences of any given set of first principles. It might make no sense to you that a person with a wonderful family and a great job would lose that job and family by drinking himself homeless. If, however, you assume the first principle of alcoholism — I want to do whatever it takes to get drunk — then losing your job and family is perfectly logical, i.e., it necessarily follows from that first principle. Likewise, getting up at five every morning and running twenty miles is my idea of utter insanity, but it is perfectly logical for someone who wants to win the Boston Marathon. It follows, then (quite logically, I might add), that, if you wish to understand the arguments or conduct of someone, you need first to identify that person’s first principle, and that will make sense of what follows.
Therein lies a huge problem for Republicans. Why is it, I ask myself, that Republicans rise to power and then almost immediately set to antagonizing the electorate by making life miserable for the average person? And how is it possible to make sense of arguments made by Republicans on behalf of programs that are clearly antithetical to the common interest? How make sense of vigorous arguments against protecting the environment, providing health care to all at a reasonable price, providing a living wage to the lowest earnings levels? How is it possible to argue that the correct policy in good times and bad is to lower taxes on the wealthy? What sense is there to demanding cuts to education for those unable to afford private schooling and increasing subsidies to those who can? How can you logically decry our treatment of disabled veterans and at the same time cut funding for their treatment? And how, in the name of all that is reasonable, can you argue on every imaginable plane that we should deny the factual findings of the sciences?
All of this makes perfect sense only if you identify the first principle of those who control the Republican party. Nobody said it better than Al Capp: what’s good for General Bullmoose is good for the country. What serves the interests of the wealthy serves the interests of the entire country. You may assign whatever motives you wish to the adoption of that particular first principle. Maybe the Republican power brokers genuinely feel that concentrating wealth and power in the hands of a few is the best way to govern a nation. They would not be the first to think so. The list of historical oligarchies is far longer than that of genuine democracies. On the other hand, you may feel that the Republican power brokers are simply paying back those who provide them with the funds to stay in office. Whatever the motivation, the principle is quite clear, and, once you set that principle in place, all the rest makes perfect sense. For instance, why would you argue that running an oil pipeline down the middle of the country the provides scant jobs and that does nothing for energy conservation in America is good for the American people? Let’s say it together: BECAUSE IT’S GOOD FOR GENERAL BULLMOOSE, AND WHAT IS GOOD FOR GENERAL BULLMOOSE IS GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY.
That analysis will help you understand all the rest. You challenge science because the findings of science conflict with the interests of the wealthy. You reduce health care, education, veterans’ benefits, increases in the minimum wage because these things conflict with the interests of the wealthy. This, of course, assumes that the interests of the wealthy may comfortably be reduced to wanting more wealth, and those with wealth cannot fairly all be tarred with the same brush. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have both decried the increased concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, and they have both dedicated a massive percentage of their wealth to the improvement of the lot of the less advantaged among us. The Koch brothers, on the other hand, sadly personify a far-too-substantial portion of the wealthy for which the only value lies in increasing their financial holdings.
To answer, then, the question with which I started. The Republican reliance on Bullmoose logic requires them to get creative in convincing the people that Republican politicians will serve the interests of the people. Once in power, however, they must serve those who put them there, and inevitably that must end in damaging the interests of the general public. You cannot promote policies that increase poverty and igorance, decrease a healthy environment and access to medical care, etc., and continue to enjoy the adulation of the masses. Absent restricting the voice of those masses, you will, having revealed your true colors by your actions, be summarily thrown out.
I am not saying here that the Republicans will be routed in 2016. They may succeed in somehow silencing the disadvantaged majority. They may succeed in restricting the vote or starting another war or some other tactic. What I am saying is that a program of action built on advantaging only a few is intrinsically doomed to fail. Eventually the people catch on, and eventually the people overthrow that oligarchy. They did it in Russia. They are doing it in China. Soon or late, they will do it to the Republicans.
General Bullmoose, take heed.