Nearly all of my political time in Utah has been spent on the educational side of things – helping Utahns to better understand freedom. Little of my time has been spent on political parties. I’ve always been a registered Republican. I’ve served as a state and county delegate. And, while I haven’t really had the time or circumstances that have allowed me to be even further involved with the Utah Republican Party, I’ve never ruled out any involvement.
In fact, many of my deepest political frustrations are the result of the state Republican party. On the one hand, I have championed its caucus and convention system. Requiring citizens to engage in person to vet candidates is healthy. On the other hand, the system is ripe for abuse. Like anything else in life, the smaller your circle of decision makers, the riskier it becomes that power-hungry or self-serving people will seek control.
The secret to the success of the Utah Republican Party is at least two fold. First, Democratic Party politics over the past four decades has moved away from Utah values. As Democrats rushed to embrace the Sexual Revolution, Utahns ran the other way. Second, despite the rantings of The Salt Lake Tribune, the Utah Republican Party has consistently represented the mainstream of political thought for the state.
Sure, it has had its moments. Every political party has its moments when a couple of crazies stir the pot and cause dissension in the ranks. But only recently have the crazies had any influence.
The new crazies aren’t even Republicans. They’re libertarians. Ideologues of the worst kind. They care nothing for democratic processes. They display no understanding about how to govern in a free society. Their historical narratives are fraught with disinformation. They quote founding fathers like they know them and dead prophets like they served with them and, in both cases, they are remarkably wrong about both. Their worldview is made up. It’s fiction.
For years, Utah libertarians have been able to hide beneath the cover of certain political issues shared by mainstream Republicans – the 2nd Amendment, federalism, limited government, local control of education, etc. They sound mainstream when they address mainstream issues. But left to themselves, the crazy spills all over the place.
They worship a false god. They worship choice and choice alone. What someone chooses is of no consequence to these libertarians – although they always add the idea, “as long as nobody hurts another person.” That is crazy thinking. It always has been. It was crazy when John Stuart Mill said it nearly two centuries ago and it’s crazy today.
I keep calling libertarianism crazy. Here’s what I mean. They say they believe in limited government and yet they believe that the individual is the fundamental unit of society. That’s crazy. They say they believe in limited government and yet they only talk about no government. That’s crazy. They say they champion a free society and yet they have no concept of the common good. That’s crazy. They say they believe in choice and yet they care nothing about choices made. That’s crazy.
So the Utah Republican Party faces a dilemma – succumb to the crazy or purge it from their midst. Honestly, if these libertarian ideologues had any political integrity at all, they would adhere to their own political party and not try to capture the Republican Party. But they don’t have any integrity – crazy people don’t have integrity. For them, the ends justify the means. For them, they would prefer to deceive the public about their intentions rather than live up to their professed ideals.
Here’s one last example of the crazy Utah Republicans are living with. Both Governor Gary Herbert and State Senator Curt Bramble are being attacked politically by these libertarians. Their crimes? They’re too liberal and too influential. Folks, just take a minute to wrap your minds around those claims. They say Governor Herbert and Senator Bramble are too liberal and too influential. Good lord.
Now, in a perfect world, the Utah Democratic Party would take advantage of this Republican infighting and make electoral gains. Unfortunately, the Democrat crazy is crazier than the libertarian crazy.
No, the only solution is for mainstream Republicans to fight back. Call a libertarian a libertarian and purge them from their midst.