My knee travels that way for a reason.

If you’ve been reading, then you know that I have little use for the Republican Party, particularly in its present state. The reason for it is a nod to the Jeffersonian ideal:

The Republican Party has been, is, and will for some time continue to be about Big Business before, above, and beyond any other interest.

The joiners, organization men, and risk-averse among you probably think that’s okay.

I do not, and cannot, because:

Big Business operates in the interest of an agenda that has nothing to do with communities and citizens, and everything to do with growth at all costs.

While that’s less true of privately-held corporations, those are instead biased toward the positions and goals of private individuals with access to large amounts of money. If you have a lot of means, you can get a lot of money, one way or another.

Publicly-held corporations are, on the other hand, operated to one end: “shareholder interest” and enrichment.

The first responsibility of a publicly-held corporation is to make money for its shareholders, and all other factors be damned.

If that means that hundreds or thousands of people need to be laid off to improve the bottom line, then the bottom line gets improved. If that means that the expense of preventing or repairing pollution slashes the margin of a product too deeply, then the product ships at the higher margin. If that means that we all pay licensing fees because someone filed a totally obvious patent before anyone else, then the lawyers are sic’d on anyone who refuses to agree to a license. If that means that honoring an insurance policy costs more than risking litigation of the underlying contract after a claim is filed, then the policyholder finds themselves filing suit.

These are the kinds of things that Big Business does, that its advocates in government tolerate, aid, and abet with greasy smiles and platitudes. Can I vote for that?


The counterargument is that the Democrats stand for statism, for tax-and-spend, that they would prefer to see responsibilities assumed by government that can be assumed more efficiently as a result of commerce.

Even if that is true, government is accountable to degrees that commercial interests would never tolerate. If the government wastes money or time, if the government turns a blind eye to the public interest or to the spirit of the law, there are ways to find out and demand accountability.

Corporations, meanwhile, are only accountable to their shareholders — not their employees, not their middle managers, and not even their customers. Customers can take their business elsewhere, but in commodity markets one seller tends to behave as badly as the next since good behavior creates too much overhead.

From where I stand, that race to the bottom is what the Republican Party stands for.

…And as for their stand on social issues, that’s a matter of convenience. If abortion is such an important issue, why is it still available given a bit of travel and a lot of thought? If education and entitlement programs would benefit from the strengths of the open market, why isn’t that arrangement typical? If those things were so right as to be self-evident, why are they not a matter of fact across the width and breadth of the Republic?

More to the point, the upside of religion is about virtue and social justice. Where are the virtue and social justice in one class of people becoming obscenely wealthy while the rest of us tread water? Where are the virtue and social justice in attempts to legislate morality — a matter ultimately between a believer and his God-by-whatever-name? Where are the virtue and social justice in demonizing impoverished brown people just because they’re brown and impoverished?

As much to the point, you can’t have an economy that operates entirely according to the ebb and flow of the markets, and then claim that destitution is universally owed to laziness. If that system works according to its logical ideal, those with worse luck and fewer advantages — less intelligence, worse education, poorer health, to say nothing of mere vulnerability to catastrophe — will be left in the wake of the profit motive of Big Business.

…And that’s what drives my feelings toward the Right from simple discomfort to outright contempt: it’s a coalition that’s morally and intellectually bankrupt, waving the standard of piety while doing all manner of impious things.