It is becoming more and more clear that the “Party of Reagan” is dying a slow death from stagnation and outright repression from the womb that birthed it: the GOP. The cause of this inevitable death is clear: it failed to authentically progress as conservative principles demand and did not see the great sign of the future of the movement as it shined for the whole world in Poland. It rested on laurels that began to rot almost immediately and now have decayed entirely.
The great lessons of Solidarność and the Christian Democratic movements elsewhere revealed the natural and authentic progression for conservatism world wide. It was not just about fiscal policy. It was not just about stopping the Red Menace. It was about something so much more and so much deeper. When I think of 1985 and the triumph of Solidarność, I am oddly reminded of Lewis’s “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The Reaganites remember fondly the actions of Reagan and Thatcher, advocating for the Deep Magic from the Beginning of Time. They extolled the natural rights of men and stood against Soviet oppression and usurpation. Yet, Pope John Paul II revealed a stronger magic, the Deeper Magic: Solidarity.
That is where the Reaganites fell short. They embraced the Deep Magic, but it was not enough for Jadis to claim the life of Edmund and it was not enough to destroy the beast of liberalism. It staved off their destruction rather than prevented it. The Deeper Magic was what set Solidarność apart from Reagan and Thatcher. They eliminated the need for the Soviet collectivism with Solidarity. They destroyed the necessity of centralized planning with subsidiarity. They banished the envy of communism with the common concern and desire for private property for all men, not just a few and not to be held in common.
I am not alone in this assessment. Paul Gottfried, Raffensberger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and more conservative than Reagan himself says:
Listening to George Will pontificate recently on Fox News about his “conservative” principles, I had to ask for the millionth time what Mr. Will and his likeminded friends mean by “conservative.” And I don’t ask this question as a neophyte, having published more on the subject of conservatism than probably anyone else on the planet. But every time I hear the term used to describe a GOP position on just about anything, I have to wonder what makes that position “conservative.” Why for example is nation-building abroad, which involves imposing the latest model of American democracy on populations that are culturally quite different from the present American ruling class, a “conservative” position? And why is letting American working communities languish while our jobs are outsourced a “conservative” policy? The obvious answer is such stands are talking points deployed by the Republican Party as it works to hold on to certain constituents. These stands also happen to be those of the GOP donor base.
The frustration among conservatives is real and growing. The GOP is increasingly showing itself not only to be leaving conservatives behind, but actively suppressing them. With more and more attacks on the failing party of Reagan, it seems as though popular politics will leave the movement without a womb to incubate in this time and instead expose it to the harsh criticisms of both major parties. Unless there was a new home for conservatives, the movement in America will die. According to Joseph Pierce, also more conservative than Reagan, believes it is the American Solidarity Party.
The consequence of such a situation is that the two-party system in the United States offers a “choice” between the radical relativism of the so-called left and the radical relativism of the so-called right. It’s a choice between two forms of idiocy, Tweedledumb or Tweedledumber, with the only question remaining which is which, i.e. which is dumb and which is dumber. It is akin to the proverbial choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, except it is much worse. If forced to choose between drowning and the devil, only an imbecile or a politician would choose the latter….
In a radical advocacy of distributist and localist principles, which tackle the problem of Big Government collusion with Big Business, the ASP believes that “the surest path to really free trade is the removal of obstacles to domestic productivity, such as payroll taxes, government subsidies for cheap energy and big agriculture, and the hoarding of productive land for speculative purposes.” It also opposes the hydra-headed evils of globalism, opposing “regulations and loopholes” in trade agreements “that protect special interests at the expense of consumers,” especially those globalist agreements which offer “favorable trade status for countries in which workers are exploited, and to agreements that favor international corporations over local producers.” In similar anti-globalist vein, the ASP calls for “reform or replacement of international trade organizations (such as the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund) in the interest of transparency, accountability, and fairness to all nations,” opposing “the use of international financial pressure to restructure the economies of debtor nations.”
For those of us that are weary of Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber the policies of the American Solidarity Party come as a breath of much-needed fresh air in the stale and suffocating atmosphere of contemporary politics. It will be good for all of us if the ASP prospers. Its voice is that of an all-too-rare common sense in the midst of the present uncommon madness.
The ASP is gaining support from the grass roots conservatives that saw the major parties leave them behind. Writers like George Yancey and Fr. Dwight Longenecker have already shown support. Major columnists for conservative magazines like Gracy Olmstead have examined ASP as a viable alternative and an actual shift in the American political landscape. She asked where the pro-life party was. We are it. We are the only one that will not compromise on the first and foremost inalienable right, unlike the two major parties. The conservatives that believed so strongly in Reagan are waking up to the reality that his Deep Magic was not enough. We need to deeper than the material, the political, and the social. We need to go to the very heart of man and see in ourselves the end for which we have been made. Conservatism, true and authentic conservatism, is found in Solidarity. That was the purpose of it the whole time. Like the Old Law being fulfilled in the New, so is the party of Reagan fulfilled in Solidarity. It is the necessary step out of the cave, out of the darkness of individualism and into the light of the Divine truth that is Solidarity. It is the final recognition of who man is, his place in society, and his destiny in this world. Conservatives, come home.
It worked for Poland, remember?