You just can’t trust anything posted to the web today. Take, for instance, this story about Howard Ahmanson. In case you don’t know who he is, he is an extremely wealthy Californian who also happens to be one of those Christian Reconstructionists — a follower of R.J. Rushdoony, who thinks we ought to have a literal Christian theocracy — and is a major contributor to the Discovery Institute and other evangelical/fundamentalist causes. So I have to read this with a bit of skepticism.
WHY I REGISTERED DEMOCRAT>
By Howard Ahmanson
About six weeks ago, I, a known leader of the Religious Right in California, decided to reregister in the Democratic Party. Why did I do this?
Well, I think I was reading about the budget struggles and threatened purges in the Legislature, and I was getting more and more tired and disgusted of it, and I realized that, had I been a Republican assemblyman, I could have hardly escaped being purged myself. The Republican Party of the State of California seems to have decided to narrow itself down to one article of faith, which may be described as NTESEBREE: No Tax Shall Ever Be Raised Ever Ever. Now, I’m concerned about this constant tax ratcheting, but I don’t think this is the answer. The Democratic Party in California, however, is now so big and diverse and all-inclusive that it has ABSOLUTELY NO PRINCIPLES WHATSOEVER. The Hollywood and San Francisco establishments within the Party may hold to some pretty detestable principles, but the party as a whole? I have not changed any of my opinions. There is not a single right-wing opinion I hold that some section of the Democratic Party doesn’t support it. Opposed to “marriage equality” and freewheeling abortion rights? A lot of Democrats of color will agree. And also many of them will agree on the importance and social justice of vouchers and tax credits for non-government schools. Opposed to fiscal irresponsibility? A lot of Silicon Valley Democrats will probably agree. Opposed to “urban redevelopment” schemes that run small business and residents out of the way for the benefit of the politically important? Got a high view of property rights? Lots of Democrats, including Robert Cruickshank and Senate President Darrell Steinberg, agree with me to a considerable degree.
I describe myself as a “social conservative, an economic moderate,” and to a considerable extent a property libertarian. By “economic moderate” I mean that the philosophy of “starve the beast” has failed. The beast will feed welfare and pork and starve infrastructure. If we want to confront irresponsible spending, we have to confront it directly. We have to confront directly the issue of the role of government and what we want it to do and not do. And when we do want government to do something, we want it to have enough money to be able to do what it does pretty well (at least considering it’s a government), but we have to fight the mentality of entitlement. The whole mentality entitlement is dangerous. The nearest thing we have to entitlements are property rights, and they are to defined things that actually exist. And all other rights, in the end, depend on property rights; freedom of speech, religion, and press is freedom in a place, or it is nothing. I am not one to radically abolish all welfare programs, as I was in my wild youth – and Social Security and Medicare are welfare, whether you like it or not – but the attitude of entitlement, especially to resources that may not even clearly exist, makes it impossible to pursue any kind of a rational fiscal policy.
I may have made a rash move, in that it will be hard for me to find Democrats that I can actually support – there probably are some, though; social conservatives in the inner city, Democrats with an open mind to vouchers and tax credits and in other ways willing to confront the public sector union beast (I don’t consider private-sector unions, for the most part, a serious enemy nowadays), Democrats open to fiscal sanity, Democrats open to property rights rather than “urban redevelopment” social engineering schemes out of City Hall. And by the grace of God, there probably are some!
It’s not impossible that this is accurate — the Rev. Phelps was once a Democrat, too, and the Democratic Party does seem to have become rather amorphous — but jebus, this really ruins my morning.
I think the best thing for my sanity is that I should retire to my remote stronghold, Chateau L’Pieuvre, and disconnect from the net until 2 April. Or perhaps I shall simply torture a few students with an evil genetics exam instead. I know I am not going to read The Panda’s Thumb, that’s for sure.