It’s not a message

The salient point eludes Jerry Pournelle:

I have a number of letters about McCain and why we ought to vote Libertarian and “Send a message.” I understand the argument.

The fact is that the Democrats will control Congress. If they also control the White House, we will have a series of legislative packages that will make the Great Society look like a libertarian government. In opposition the Republicans rediscover their principles; it’s power they haven’t been able to handle since Newt Gingrich was Speaker.

The country is in trouble. We have forgotten our founding principles, and we move inexorably toward a European style socialist state, with the only winners being an enormous bureaucracy. This will accelerate the economic decline.

The argument is to give the Democrats their head, and pick up the pieces after the inevitable crash. I think that overlooks the resilience of tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect regimes. We haven’t seen much in the way of reforms in Europe. The Democrats will create new bureaucracies that can never be dismantled: an example is the Department of Education. Reagan came into office determined to abolish it. Now it owns US education, and No Child Left Behind is entrenched. The Iron Law of Bureaucracy is inexorable.

Not voting for McCain isn’t about “sending a message”. Even if one accepts the notion that he is the lesser evil, it is supporting the “lesser evil” that has gotten the nation into this mess. It’s not going to get the nation out of it. It can’t, and nothing, in fact, is likely to extricate Americans from the morass in which they find themselves. The sooner people accept this, the sooner they can make intelligent decisions about how they are going to prepare for what comes next. Remember, the end of the halcyon days are not the end of the universe; people have survived every single fallen empire of the past and they’ll survive this one too. But you can’t fix what is irretrievably broken and I should be very, very interested to hear someone explain how electing John McCain would fix anything about the current situation, let alone everything.

That being said, I do agree with the spirit of Pournelle’s conclusion: “The post-Gingrich Republicans who invented “big government conservatism” have much to answer for.”

I’m not sure they invented anything, but they certainly do have much for which to answer.