My brilliant and beloved colleague Brian Leiter refers to Republican voters as “sociopaths, villains, religious zealots, and crazies.” There is much to this – the 50 percent or so of the voting population that traditionally vote for the GOP includes its fair share of misinformed nuts. But is there any reason to believe that Republicans have a monopoly on “crazies”? I highly doubt it; I suspect Democrats have some voters and politicians that they would rather not roll out as poster children for the cause. No political party is perfect or even particularly appealing, and pretending that one’s favored side has cornered the market on high mindedness, truth, or justice is just posturing. We must judge voters, politicians, and parties not by their composition, their intentions, or their ideals but by the outcomes they produce.
The problem with politics today isn’t that Republicans are idiots or Democrats are socialists; the problem may be democracy. H.L. Mencken, a wise fellow if there ever was one, described the problem thus:
Politics, under democracy resolves itself into impossible alternatives. Whatever the label on the parties, or the war cries issuing from the demagogues who lead them, the practical choice is between the plutocracy on the one side and a rabble of preposterous impossibilists on the other.
Mencken went on to argue that what we need beyond anything is “a party of liberty.” Hear, hear! I will gladly leave behind the crazies and villains in both parties for a party that believes in freedom and liberty. Let the mantra be that of Reason magazine: free minds & free markets, with a dose of limited government, lower taxes, less regulation, and personal responsibility. When such a party starts, I’ll be a member. Until then, I’ll continue to be one of Leiter’s crazies.