09.17.2012 0

Shifting Demographics: The Death of Conservatism?

By David Bozeman — A major rule of political warfare is to never accept the wisdom of those who don’t have your best interests at heart.

Columnist Kathleen Parker, who inexplicably passes for conservative,  recently sounded the death knell for the Republican Party in a piece entitled “Pale Party of Lincoln” (the Republican Party and conservatism, though two different entities, share many overlapping ideas and individuals, so, for the sake of brevity, “Republican Party” will be used throughout).

Many observers, on both sides of the aisle, echo the notion that, since America is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, the GOP, primarily a white party, will have to attract more minorities to remain viable.  According to projections, by mid-century, white Americans will be outnumbered by all other groups combined.

Parker writes, “courageous Republicans might look for clues in their children’s science book…There they’ll learn that eco-systems thrive and are most productive when there is bio-diversity… The strongest and fittest are those who adapt and that species for now goes by the name Democrat.”

James Carville based “40 More Years:  How Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation,” written before the Republican tidal wave of 2010, on partly the same premise.  Granted, the claim is not unreasonable, as demographic and lifestyle shifts could spell trouble for a party moored in white, traditional America.  But note the presumptuousness of conventional wisdom:  generations not yet born are already deemed the property of the Democratic Party.

To those invested in bigger government, statism is always our inevitable fate, and that notion, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, hypnotizes freedom’s staunchest allies, as well.  But another rule of political warfare is to beware of those who boldly claim that they can foretell the future.  Life holds too many twists and turns to anticipate, and, as for politics, it is defined by a cyclical nature that reveals itself only in hindsight.

As Jonah Goldberg notes in “The Tyranny of Cliches,” no one group, once given the vote, has ever assured either party unlimited rule. Republicans, by the way, are told that they must especially worry about the growing Hispanic population.

Black Americans won the vote in 1870, massive waves of immigrants flooded this country in the early 1900s, women were given the vote in 1920, and eighteen year-olds in 1972, and the cycle of two-party dominance has remained steady.  Republicans, for instance, all but owned the presidency between the Civil War and 1920, with only Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson (both elected twice) breaking their hold, but control of Congress shifted constantly.

And despite a century-old cottage industry predicting the demise of the GOP, Eisenhower, Nixon and even Bush 43 brought their party back after seemingly unstoppable Democratic rule.

Those who grumble that the Republican Party is too white actually mean it is too conservative.  It is true that blacks and Hispanics are largely drawn to the Democrats, but it is also true that when liberals have to choose between their cherished “diversity” and raw power, they will leave America drab, uniform and dependent every time.  Liberal control of social policy and culture has decimated the black, two-parent family, an institution rich in heritage, determination and community.

Large numbers of Hispanic and poor-white babies are now being born to single mothers, leaving them dependent on the same welfare state that deems its own continuation, and not the self-sustenance of families, as Priority #1.

Ideally, self-government is about competing ideas, not the clash of groups and interests.  If racial identity is now the defining characteristic of public life, then it is not the future of the Republican Party we should be discussing, but the future of the United States of America as we know it.

David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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