Years ago, a friend told me about something he calls the ‘baby test’. To take it, raise either arm straight up so your upper arm touches your ear. Bend the arm at the elbow. If you can make a 90-degree angle, you’re not a baby.
It occurs to me that there is a similar test for whether you’re a Republican, although it’s conceptual rather than corporeal. The test is simple. If you believe that it’s more important to achieve particular outcomes than to preserve a set of principles, you’re not a Republican.
Does that seem unreasonable? This, I believe, is the most important statement in the Republican platform:
We believe our constitutional system — limited government, separation of powers, federalism, and the rights of the people — must be preserved uncompromised for future generations.
It’s right there in the party name: Republicans are supposed to be concerned primarily with preserving the republic, and only secondarily with using that republic to pursue their personal goals. They are supposed to be caretakers first, heirs second.
If you’ve reversed the order of those priorities, then you’re a Republican In Name Only. You’ve been infected by the RINO virus.
How do you know if you’ve got the virus? While they work on a blood test, here’s a way to check. Do you find yourself saying things like ”At the end of the day, it’s all about better outcomes’ for children, or the elderly, or employees, or families, or some other group of people who are alive right now? If so, you’re almost certainly infected.
And once you’re infected, you’ll be willing to pay for the outcomes you want now, by spending the inheritance that you’re supposed to be passing on uncompromised to future generations. You’ll be willing to place your desires, your comfort, your safety, ahead of their freedom.
Imagine Socrates saying: Okay, put away the poison. I’ll stop causing trouble.
Imagine Daniel saying: Okay, I’ll stop praying to my God. Just get that lion away from me.
Imagine Patrick Henry saying: Give me liberty, or I’ll learn to get along without it.
At the end of the day, Republicans have to be about principles, rather than outcomes. If not, there’s really no reason for the party to exist. There’s already another party that takes the alternative view.
And at the end of the day, this is why it’s so important that government remain as small as possible. It’s not just a preference, or a convenience. It’s a sacred trust. The inheritance you’re supposed to be caretaking is liberty. And governments eat liberty the way locusts eat crops.
Okay, but what if you’ve been infected? Is there a cure? I’ll be talking about that in my next post.