There was a time, long long ago, when my party-loyal Democrat parents led me to believe that Republicans were the greedy, racist, blood hungry folks from Washington who lived under my bed when the Boogey Monster was on vacation. For years, I stayed away from understanding politics since I already knew the Repubs were the devil's spawn and everybody was too dayum emotional about it. Naturally, when I turned 18, my voter registration card read "Democrat." That was easy. When voting, I found the right column, pressed all the buttons, and smiled that my civic duty was complete.
As I entered into my career, I found myself surrounded by intelligent and trusted coworkers who also stood as vocal conservatives. Their consistent and persistent positions caught my interest. Ron Paul further ignited my interest in party politics with his sometimes-radical positions, such as abolishing the Federal Reserve. I found myself agreeing with this quirky male whose party affiliation began with the "R" word.
I'll never forget the day, several years ago, when a close friend (a registered Rebublican) graced me with the first logical personal assessment of Democrats (Liberals) vs. Republicans (Conservatives). Without an iota of the misplaced emotion that plagued my old understanding of the parties, she indicated her agreement with Conservative fiscal policies and her disagreement with Conservative views on social issues (and the way those social views sometimes spilled into policymaking). I was hooked on expanding my understanding, and I discovered something important about my personal views:
I'm a freakin' fiscal conservative. My aversion to Bible-thumping, homophobic, often-hypocritical social conservatives kept me from associating myself with anything in the conservative bucket.
As a general rule, fiscal conservatives believe in limiting the government's reach into your pocketbook, descreased government spending, and increased business (which means more employers leading to more jobs).
On the other hand, fiscal liberals believe in big government spending for more government programs - most of which don't work and tax us into funding causes we'd otherwise like to opt-out of.
My latest foray into all things political led me to the term "Going Galt." The term is linked to the book "Atlas Shrugged," where the character John Galt encourages innovative movers and shakers to go on strike against socialist idealism, which breeds mediocrity. Today's use of the term Going Galt applies to entrepeneurs who give up on operating a business in America based on the reality and the potential for huge economic losses caused by governmental red tape.
David McElroy witnessed this phenomenon when a coal miner in Alabama declared defeat in starting a business that would employ 125 people desperate for jobs:
I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What’s the use? I don’t know. I mean, I see these guys — I see them with tears in their eyes — looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So as I stood against the wall here today, basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.
Comments to that article, and to this additional short article, feature real-life stories of people walking away from self-employment and business ownership after getting regulated out of the deal.
I don't believe I'll ever be a party loyalist, because none of the major parties have it all right. I don't hold a single fantasy that any party is free of players who spend too much time serving corporate interests, climb into bed with lobbyists, and conveniently forget their campaign promises to actually help the public as public servants.
This is a good time to question your old beliefs to understand the logic beneath. This is the worst time to rely on party loyalty in exchange for truly understanding the foundation of our choices. My eye is on the fiscal conservatives who just might be able to lure Galt employers back into the game. We need those employers. Mortgages don't pay themselves.