Our nation’s founding was a historical turning point. The Founders embraced the inherent value of each person, adopted a Constitution that established the freedom to choose life’s path, and established a government that would only govern with the people’s consent.
The Republican Party was born at another turning point. The Whig Party had refused to take a stand against slavery, passing into the dustbin of history to be replaced by a Republican Party that embraced abolition. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Civil War was won, freeing the slaves, preserving the Union, and re-establishing the basis for America’s greatness.
We are at another turning point. President Obama is pursuing a socialist agenda based upon a demand for radical equality. As embraced by modern-day liberals, this is not equal opportunity, but equality of outcomes. By rejecting both success and failure, radical equality leads inexorably to a tyranny of shared misery.
The Founders could have chosen this path. The French did, and their Revolution led to anarchy, the guillotine and dictatorship. Instead our Founders chose freedom, launching a remarkable period of liberty and prosperity. Mr. Obama’s vision of radical equality, however, reverses that choice, transforming our country into a socialist state, where all life’s decisions are subject to control and the successful are punished to equalize their wealth with those who would not earn it.
Liberal equality manifests itself across everyday experience. For example, liberals’ hostility to religion reflects their demand for equality, since religion declares different outcomes, depending on individual behavior. The dumbing down of education serves equality, since not all can achieve academic excellence. And their support for abortion is premised on the idea that everyone should be able to choose the same carefree lifestyle of the childless.
But ultimately this requires government — its power to tax and to command obedience. Taking over the auto and banking industries was only the start of the country’s most audacious government power grab. Seizing control of health care has empowered government to impose the most draconian controls over the daily lives of American citizens, while delivering only as much health care as government chooses. Seizing control over the consumption of energy, through cap-and-trade legislation, would allow regulating every aspect of business, commerce, transportation and daily living. No longer a government of limited and enumerated powers, little is left outside of its control.
These massive government programs are based wealth redistribution. Obamacare will tax “the rich” and “Cadillac” health plans. Cap-and-trade legislation would tax successful companies for their “overuse” of energy resources. Mr. Obama will destroy the accumulated wealth of our citizens through reckless government spending and deficits, leading to inflation, even hyperinflation, and the devaluation of the dollar. All will be equally poor.
Finally, liberal control of the courts, by judges who believe in a “living constitution,” permits the government to impose a frightening social agenda, based on radical equality. Gun control, for example, is about equating law-abiding gun owners with criminals. Abolishing traditional marriage is justified on equality grounds — all types of relationships are the same.
Mr. Obama’s foreign policy is based on moral equivalence and multiculturalism, denying American exceptionalism. We have nothing special to fight for and defend. Thus, we are systematically deprived of our will to fight. Airport screening is one result — since everyone is treated the same, and no one is singled out, we fail to discover those who would kill us. We must apologize to the world for our wealth and success and make amends for the unequal share of resources that we consume. Redistribution of America’s wealth to the world is just the start of imposing a global equality of outcomes.
The response must equal the extraordinary challenge. We must unapologetically defend freedom and our constitutional republic. This fight is between freedom and a new evil empire of tyranny — previously the Soviet Union, but now it is our own government. Government is the weapon being used to control our lives, destroy our wealth, cripple our economy and future prosperity, undermine our security, and enslave our children.
We also must embrace a new era of accountability. Officeholders, candidates and political parties will be held accountable for their actions, especially when their deeds do not match their words or when they engage in corruption. We must not self-suppress our dissent because of political correctness or because we fear criticism by the media and elites. Finally, we must acknowledge that, to restore its legitimacy, government may only govern with the consent of the governed. The Obama administration, however, is ruling against the will of the American people and waging war against American culture.
Historically, the Republican Party would be viewed as the logical vehicle for this fight. The American people once turned to Ronald Reagan to fight for our freedom, prosperity and security, rejecting the malaise, defeatism and drift to socialism of the Carter years. But the party compromised its position as the champion of conservative values when its “no-new-tax” pledge was abandoned; when elected Republicans failed to stop excessive government spending, earmarks and deficits, and then proposed bailouts; when the party spent millions supporting liberal Republicans in primary and general elections who then switched parties and/or endorsed Democrats; and finally when the party nominated for president the media’s favorite Republican, who then voted for a trillion-dollar government bailout.
As one “tea party” leader said, the Republican Party is now on probation.
The Republican Party can reclaim its leadership by recognizing that it is the party of conservative principles and policies and thus the party of freedom, prosperity and security. But deeds must match words.
A united congressional Republican opposition to Mr. Obama’s socialist agenda is a critical step.
Also key is putting the Republican Party’s money where its mouth is, by engaging in aggressive lobbying against Mr. Obama’s entire socialist agenda, and by making available the party’s financial support to only bona-fide conservative candidates.
And finally, the party should never again remain silent when Republican public officials betray the trust of the American people by abandoning their conservative principles or engaging in unethical conduct. The Republican Party must recognize that it, too, will be held accountable.
• Jim Bopp Jr., a Terre Haute, Ind., lawyer, is a vice chairman of the Republican National Committee and chairman of the RNC’s Republican National Conservative Caucus.