Defining Extremism, Governing Those Who Govern

The racism tag has not really stuck to the Tea Party and Liberal inspired Conservative revival.  It came to be viewed as a kneejerk reaction to any form of opposition and as such, lost its impact.  It’s a shame; actual racism should be called out at every turn.  But when every turn is met by the charge of racism, we all go deaf as racism is applied not as moral outrage but as a political tactic to cower the opposition and end the discussion. 

The main talking point now is clearly centered on the charge of extremism.  The charge of extremism is not limited to liberals pointing the finger at Conservatives but of Republicans aiming it at Conservatives.  Tell us anything about the Republicans leveling the charge?

What is extremism in this context?  Judging from the consistency of the themes being currently applied it’s nearly anything a Conservative wants to see in their government, or changed in the government.  The charge of extremism could easily go the way of the racism charge, losing its impact with each baseless repetition of the racism charge.

Chief among the contextually “extremist” issues is a focus on constitutionally consistent legislation and regulation.  If nearly every Conservative political opinion is based on constitutionally enumerated powers and that view is extremist; one must, logically, come to the opinion that the Constitution itself is a modern day extremist manifesto.  This is the great divide in today’s left / right debate.  The left feels constrained by the Constitution and the right wants it repositioned as the central set of ideals governing those who govern. 

“Extremists” are demanding that economic and budgetary rationality be a central issue in the current debate.  The demand for spending reductions is cast as an “extremist” position while a Presidential 10 year budget that both predicts and guarantees financial collapse is not viewed as extremist!

“Extremist” Republicans, losers of two consecutive elections turned inward in an exercise of self flagellation and eventual evaluation.  Liberal Republicans, losing primary after primary blame voters for their failures.  The extremists stood up to some manner of responsibility the “non extremists” did not.

The Commerce Clause was originally intended to insure that states could not wage punitive economic war on each other in our early days as a nation.  In the modern day that clause essentially defines each and every occurrence of commerce as being across state lines and therefore applicable to Federal control.  “Extremists” say that there should be reasonable limitations on that power. Recent judicial interpretations of the Commerce Clause are one of the main justifications for the growth of non enumerated powers.  The legal arguments are sophisticated but “extremists” look to original intent and history for their interpretation.   

Extremists look to today’s Department of Education as clearly outside constitutionally enumerated powers.  Despite billions of dollars the Education Department spends each year it does not directly educate a single child.  The often stated slide of American education has not been slowed by Education Department efforts and the argument can be made that it has facilitated the slide.  The bureaucratic tendency toward standardization simply does not work in all circumstances and the effort is typically a hidey hole for bureaucratic facilitation.  The Education Department has simply has not gotten the job done and Conservatives contend that the money is better spent by the states who are clearly more capable of identifying and addressing the issues peculiar to each state.  Extremist?  The gutting of the highly successful D.C. voucher program is a vivid case in point.  Education administrators will admit, albeit only in private, that they are financial hostages to Education Department mandates, regardless of the efficacy of the mandate.  “Want the money?  Play ball and just do what we say.”  Its Mussolini’s Corporatism applied to the public sector.   

The Department of Energy’s original charge in the Carter Administration was to reduce American reliance on foreign oil in the wake of the Arab Oil Embargo.  To opine that the original mission has been a comprehensive failure should be self evident to all but the most stringent ideologues.  This department has a potentially valid mission focused on research, development and rational regulatory guidelines; however it has grown well beyond those bonds and Conservatives, extremists, think it should be reined in.

Congress has engaged in decade’s long delegation of power to bureaucracies; the constitutionality of that delegation stretching well beyond the original powers ascribed.  It’s the rough equivalent of a business executive demanding 20 reports a day when he can only absorb 5.   Should Congress authorize a scope of activities so far beyond its ability to provide effective oversight as to be a magnate for political influence and corruption?  Sound extremist to you?

The takeover of the mortgage industry is well along the road with quasi governmental institutions like Fannie and Freddy.  Well more than half of all mortgages are essentially under the auspice of government.  Extremists say that the political nature of Fannie and Freddy is THE main precipitant for the financial collapse.  Extremists say that the failures of Freddy and Fannie and their sub-prime programs are the best argument for this activity being left to free markets.  Extremists also say that rational regulation is necessary but government takeover is not.

Private placement student loans will shortly disappear, authorized as part of the Health Care Bill.  Extremists say that the inexorable creep of government intervention in all things financial is not authorized in the Constitution.  Extremists will, likely, agree that legislation setting standards are acceptable, insuring the absence of discrimination is acceptable; insuring a degree of fairness is acceptable; absolute control is not!

Extremists point to any variety of situations and conditions that prove the premise that more government control does not necessarily improve conditions and in many, many cases makes it, eventually, worse.  Extremists argue that politics of the moment invariably results in unanticipated consequences, requiring a never ending string of “fixes”.  With each fix the complexity grows, the impact narrows and costs accelerate.  More is less!

Despite assurances that “Americans will like the Health Care Bill when they know what’s in it”, it has not worked out that way and the slide in public opinion will continue.  Americans are discovering that in 2013 there is a 3.8% Federal sales tax on real estate sales in the Health Care Bill among many other “hidden” provisions unknown to legislators as they were more focused on ideology than content and impact.  Extremists say that manner of legislation has to stop.

Extremists argue that the best way to “redistribute” income is to allow a free market to grow the economy, create jobs, motivate capital spending and economic expansion.  Extremists work on the premise that a rising tide lifts all the boats.  Economic history would seem to bear out that “extreme” position.  Extremists argue that the current course motivates not growth, but dependency and that dependency arrives with such a vast array of unintended consequences as to be nearly incomprehensible in their scope.

Extremism?, You Decide!