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Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Homilies for a Dynamist Revival-part I-Kevin Holtsberry had an interesting post calling for ideas to spark a dynamist revival.
My question is this: Libertarians and conservatives who want to reduce the size and scope of government must have a strategy to succeed. What should that strategy be? The argument for limiting government seems to have been thrown off by the media and the public as uncaring, unthinking, cruel, etc. I would love to hear a pragmatic strategy and process whereby government can be limited or even slowed down. If you have an idea send me an email, post a comment, post it in your blog and send me a link etc.
A few early suggestions have been posted; I'll talk about them first. Kathy Kinsley goes one-for-two here
Those of us who have been screaming about this for ages do something very simple. We vote for those people who do not favor big government, no matter what party they are from. Most religious conservatives vote reflexively for whoever screams loudest against abortion and for school prayer. They don't seem concerned much with other issues.
The first is easier said than done. The way to vote would be to select the candidate that would be most conducive to our goals. Often, the dilemma is between holding our nose and voting for a near-RINO or voting for one of the free-market-oriented third parties. I think the trick will be to run good free-market candidates in Republican primaries and get our small-l libertarian friends to join us in that endeavor. Kathy has slipped in a bit of a straw man, as most religious conservatives are fairly free-market oriented once prurient media, drugs and embryos are taken out of the mix. I'll restate the question I have posed previously- Is prudish dynamism worse than morally-tolerant statism? Libertarians tend to treat economic liberals and religious conservatives as equally flawed, but the liberal will affect their lives more with their higher taxes and bigger economic regulations than would a conservative platform of reduced availability of abortion, pro-abstinence sex-ed, vouchers and a heterosexist view of marriage. True, she might have to refrain from grabbing a doobie or have to adjust her family planning, but the greater take-home-pay and flexibility to run her life in other areas would make a conservative platform more attractive once we get past the Salem Witch Trials/Taliban false metaphors that the amoralists want to trot out. Next Right's Sean McCray has this thought
This issue is one that has really had me stumped lately. People have accepted the idea that government is good and actually better than individualism. I think it will take radical re-education of the electorate. I think only a Constitutional amendment passed by the states will ever restore the balance of powers. I fear we may be too far down the road, to turn back. the slow steps to socialism are still winning the battle.
I think the momentum of the statists is waning and it is time for the re-education process to begin. Such a constitutional amendment would require a 2/3 dynamist majorities of both houses of Congress and 38 states-heavy sledding. The other way to solve the balance of powers is to get five Supreme Court members to actually enforce the Constitution as written. I'll borrow from the quip on gun laws; we don't need new constitutional amendments, we need to enforce the ones on the books. Thus, a better tack would be to shoot for 60 dynamist senators that can get good Supreme Court nominees who will do just that. This is a long term process that will need the forces of good pick off a few statist (there are a handfull of good Democrats like Zell Miller) senators each election, so that the GOP can have 56-58 seats after the 2006 elections, prying loose a few friendly Democrats to break a filibuster. We can start with showing Wellstone and Johnson the door in November, and getting Cleland, Harkin and Carnahan out would be nice as well. Within the next 6.5 years of Dubya's stay in the White House, we'll likely see Stevens and Rehnquist retire, and possibly see either O'Connor or Ginsburg pack it in as well. Having a Senate that is friendly to strict constructionists is the key to achieving McCray's goal, but the real battles will lie when either someone other than Rehnquist retires and adding a constructionist would tip the balance of power.

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