Guest Editorial


MENCKEN'S GHOSTPinching my nostrils and
voting Republican

I did it again on Election Day, just as I have throughout my adult life, although it reminded me of going to the latrine in the Army. I took a deep breath, pinched my nostrils, and finished the dirty business as quickly as possible. I voted Republican.

Each time that I’ve done this, the result has been the same: the size, intrusiveness, and direct and indirect costs of government have grown faster than inflation and population, at not only the federal level, but also at the state and local levels. It happened after Nixon was elected, it happened after Reagan was elected, it happened after the two Bushes were elected, it happened after the Contract with America, and it happened after Republicans ran the state legislature for years in my home state of Ariz., which is billions of dollars in the hole.

It also happened in California after Reagan was elected governor. He failed to stop the growing power of the state’s public-sector unions and their unsustainable pensions. But that’s a problem for Californians, not for me. Hmm, on second thought, it’s a problem for me, because more Californians will move from the Golden State to the Copper State, where they will immediately vote for the things that drove them out of Calif.: higher taxes, bigger government, and more regulations.

Please don’t scold me for voting for the lesser of two evils. My fellow libertarians have been scolding me for years for voting at all and for getting snookered by politicians and the commentariat into watching the Dem vs. Rep political game as both parties steal my family’s silverware.

This time will be different, I said to myself as I voted, because the Tea Party will keep the Republican Party from reverting to its natural statism, which is a love of big, centralized government that stems from nationalism, militarism, rent-seeking, and blue noses.

Admittedly, I have no idea how the Tea Party is going to accomplish this, given that Tea Party candidates didn’t specify how they are going to accomplish this. How are they going to significantly reduce the more than $60 trillion in national debt and unfunded liabilities without raising taxes and without enraging old folks by cutting entitlements? How are they going to stop the Federal Reserve from debasing the dollar? How are they going to stop government schools from indoctrinating students about the glories of government? How are they going to reverse the decades of government-caused distortions in medical insurance/care, housing, agriculture, banking, and energy? How are they going to restore the two-parent family, which is the surest way of increasing household income, improving test scores, and reducing lawlessness and other social pathologies, particularly in the inner city?

Heck, how are they going to cut farm subsidies, which go to one of the smallest special interest groups? If they can’t cut farm subsidies, they can’t cut entitlements, which go to tens of millions of people. And if they can’t cut entitlements, they can’t cut debt and deficits.
They didn’t say.

Nor did they state their political philosophy. They said nothing about the relationship of man to the state, and the state to society. They didn’t say if they embrace Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Hegel, Kant, Rousseau, or any other renowned philosopher. And they didn’t say if they embrace the Chicago school of economics, the Austrian school, the Keynesian school, the Marxian school, or something else.

One senses that they are ignorant about such subjects, which means that they are unqualified to practice their trade. They are like physicians who don’t know anatomy. Listening to them was like listening to Sean Hannity: nothing but platitudes, pedantry, and pabulum, repeated over and over again. “Limited government, less taxation, no deficits, repeal ObamaCare, stop bailouts, blah-blah-blah.”

No, I am not insane. Although I’ve always gotten the same result by voting Republican, I voted Republican again for a rational reason: Voting for Republicans was better than voting for Democrats, especially the current gang of neo-Marxists, because it will take longer under Republicans for the nation to end up in the crapper. That will buy me a little more time to find a way of not going into the crapper with the country.

You see, I pinched my nostrils this time in the hope that I won’t have to live the rest of my life with them pinched.

“Mencken’s Ghost” is the nom de plume of an Arizona writer. He can be reached at