The site is named No Package Deals. Nopackagedeals.com. I don’t know if you wonder why, but I’m going to tell you anyway.
Much of modern political activity, thought, and discussion is based on what I call “package deals.” You can be a Conservative, a Moderate, a Progressive. You can be Left, far Left, Centrist. You can be a Liberal or maybe a Neoliberal. These terms, and others, are tossed around as if they were definitive, but they are not. They are vague, fuzzy, poorly defined. Most people have some idea what they mean, but not that many of the ideas agree. People who claim the package “Conservative” have a better definition than people who claim most of the other packages, and they can spell it out for you, with flowing phrases like “small government” and “family values,” but there is one catch: the flowery phrases are entirely disconnected from anything they will do in office. They will take specific actions, write specific bills, vote in specific ways, and those actions will bear no resemblance to the package definition they gave you.
So when we discuss our politics in terms like these, we are not communicating actual thoughts or ideas. We are just saying, I sign on to this package, I think I know what’s in it, and if you think something different is in it we’ll just ignore that and argue about my package versus your package.
I do identify with one label. I am a Democrat. But that label has, when I use it, a specific meaning: at election time I vote for Democrats. It doesn’t tell you what I think, it tells you one thing that I do. I vote for Democrats.
My essays tell you what I think. I make no attempt to resolve what I think into a package. It is my opinion that we are at a time in our national life when the packages have failed us; we are at a time when we need to speak clearly, and specifically, about how we want to govern ourselves. Serious Americans must decide what we think our government is for, why we have it, and what we want it to do.
A nation that takes its government seriously does not elect Donald Trump as President, not even by chicanery. In a nation that takes itself seriously Donald Trump does not get some sixty million votes. In a nation that takes itself seriously, Donald Trump does not even get nominated by a potentially governing party. Maybe the Clown Triumph Party, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster Party, but not a party that actually intends to govern the nation.
The day Donald Trump was nominated for President by the Republican Party, there was no longer any question: America’s political discourse had utterly failed. We littered the landscape with undefined packages of slogans and invited the American people to run out and grab one and hang on to it as though it had some value.
Phrases like, “Fiscal Conservative” are utterly meaningless. People calling themselves Fiscal Conservatives have put our nation into incomprehensible debt. Specifically, how do you want to govern The United States?
No Package Deals.