Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Quixotic Enterprise of the Republican Party

I was listening to a lecture given by a prominient rabbi recently, and he stated that the solution to the Israel/Palestine problem must necessarily be a political solution reached through a rationalist dialogue. He went on to state that a solution never could be reached if religious issues came into play because if they did, neither side would be able to compromise because compromise would imply the fallibility of their beliefs and/or their respective diety.

Last take a second and make the necessary extrapolations. If we are to reach a solution to the problems this country faces, that solution must necessarily be a political solution; as long as religious or moral issues come to bear, we will simply remain at an impasse.

I think, for the most part, the country sees that now. The election of Barack Obama and the victories of the democrats in the last election perhaps confirm that. Bush’s ascension to the presidency was aided by playing to the far right and using these religious and moral issues to turn out the conservative base. However, the Bush administration in its abject ineptitude then unwittingly exposed the ugly truth about such issues; they might fire up the crowd, but the real issues a government leader faces require rational, reasoned judgement. Religious and moral issues are based primarily on emotion and abstract expressions of faith; emotion and abstract expressions of faith are not necessarily commensurable with reason.

But while most of the country sees that, the republicans cannot. In fact, if I am to believe this article over at Politico, the loyal republican base is becoming even more conservative and desires a leadership that is even more conservative as well. Do they not get it?

Reason requires constant introspection. Reason requires that when the rational human being is confronted with something that contradicts their views, they weigh this new information and adjust their views accordingly. However, it appears that when republicans in general and conservatives in particular are confronted with new information that might challenge their views, they do no stop to adjust their views but become even more obstinate and obdurate in their thinking.

I believe this signals absolute doom for the Republican Party. On the one hand, if they give in to their base and become more conservative, they risk becoming a marginal party. However,if they don't give in to their base, the conservative right just might form a third political party, thereby taking much of the republican base with them. What a conundrum they face. But if you live by religious and moral fervor, you die by religious and moral fervor.

I believe that in order for effective political dialogue to take place, there must necessarily be more than one political view represented. However, at the rate the Republican Party is going, they are going to conservative themselves right out of relevancy. They will become modern day Don Quixotes, jousting against the windmills of reason.


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