Saturday, November 10, 2012

50 Wall Streets & the GOP Revival

Fascinating little bit of soul searching going on in the GOP these days in the aftermath of the disillusioning Democratic victory in the 2012 elections.  Many voices are offering excuses and explanations, but the party really needs to "look backward to go forward" according to writer Craig Shirley in today's Wash Post.  I am fascinated by Shirley's comments on the ideas of limited government according to conservatism:

But conservative populism should not stop there. If we rightly fear all concentrations of power, then the first order of business must be to break up the five big banks. The rationale is simple: Since the banks used illicit means via lobbyists and government to acquire such power, then government can be used to undo their ill-gotten authority.
Wall Street is too fearsome and corrupt for anyone’s good. We should find a way to create 50 Wall Streets so that money can stay in the states, and corruption can be kept to a minimum and law enforcement to a maximum. In the era of the Internet — which empowers the individual — can there be any doubt that scrutiny of local Wall Streets would keep bankers and brokers on their toes?

While the GOP has simply come to be known as the party of the wealthy who seek to avoid higher taxes and redistribution, it should divorce itself from mindlessly defending "wealth."  Clearly, there are deep ethical problems with the business world - and blaming the poor for draining the Treasury is simply not enough.  Thus, the GOP needs to honestly accept the role an unregulated financial system played in the problems of the past twenty years.

Craig Shirley's comment on the need to create 50 Wall Streets is truly fascinating to me - and it is the purest idea on the idea of state's rights in face of a growing federal government I have heard.  Living and teaching high school in Colorado, and being a proponent of a return to Career and Technical Education, I have often hoped to see the state become the "Germany of the United States" by developing a reformed education system and manufacturing base in spite of the denials of the rest of the country.  As Shirley notes, the open nature of the Internet economy offers more opportunity for individuality and self-reliance and personal responsibility and growth.

Think Globally but Act Locally has long been a catch-phrase of the Left.  However, the idea of self reliance is every bit as much a conservative idea, as noted by such Crunchy Conservatives as Rod Dreher and Joel Salatin.  From home schooling to organic farming, conservatives might think about supporting true self reliance and individuality by cutting ties with multinational organizations such as Monsanto and Dow Chemical and Archer-Daniel-Midland and General Electric and Bain Capital and Goldman-Sachs.  These large companies might need to be busted up to protect self-reliance just as Republican Teddy Roosevelt did to bring about the end of the Gilded Age.

There is a solid way back for conservatism, and it includes returning to their roots which preceded a blind faith in low taxes and "job creators."

Just a thought.

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