The Mess That\’s Texas

The Republican Party of Texas (RPT) has released a platform that is so over-the-top stupid and self-contradictory it reads like a parody of itself.

The brain trust of the RPT begins by affirming that governments in the US ought to be restricted to the powers enumerated by their respective constitutions, and then calls for the following acts and policies, which require powers that are no-where enumerated, either in the Constitution of the United States nor in the Constitution of the Republic of Texas or its 473 amendments:

  • The regulation of women’s reproductive rights, and the right of parents to kill their unborn children. While on the one hand the RPT says it “supports the historic concept, established by our nations’ founders, of limited civil government jurisdiction under the natural laws of God, and repudiates the humanistic doctrine that the state is sovereign over the affairs of men, the family and the church”, on the other hand they say that they support “The sanctity of human life, created in the image of God, which should be protected from fertilization to natural death” even though neither state nor Federal constitutions give them the power to regulate women’s reproductive behavour, nor limit a parent’s traditional right to kill their unborn (and in many ancient societies, including Christian ones, recently born) children.
  • The regulation of behaviour relative to bits of cloth that have been dyed with a particular red, white and blue pattern
  • Restriction of driver’s licenses to legal residents
  • Banning the use of recreational drugs (other than the questionable “general health and welfare” clauses in the Federal constitution it isn’t clear what power the Federal government has in this regard, either.)
  • Pursue “war on terrorists”, which for some reason the RPT are terribly afraid of, calling organizations that have killed fewer Americans than lightning strikes in the past twenty years “a major threat to … our own safety.” Those of us who aren’t huddling in the dark fearfully clutching an assault rifle to our chest and crying for Baby Jesus to preserve us and our way of life don’t really see the world the way the RPT does, but even granted their false claim that terrorism is a major threat to much of anything the fact remains that no level of government in the US is authorized by any constitution to declare war on anything but an enemy nation-state. That is how the Framers conceived war, as between nations, and the RPT doesn’t get to declare it is defending the ideals of the Framers while at the same time declaring that “war” means something completely different from what the Framers meant by it.
  • The RPT supports making “American English” the official language, despite there being no enumerated power for them to do so.
  • Although the Texas Constitution was amended to oppose marriage freedom in 2005, the RPT wants the power to restrict benefits to people in loving, healthy, diverse domestic partnerships that are equivalent to marriage in every sense except the legal one, despite there being no enumerated power that permits the government to do this.
  • There are a whole raft of clauses that encroach on freedoms that the State Constitution does not empower the State government to encroach on. The promotion of motherhood (literally). The suppression of homosexuality (good luck with that). And so on. Neither the State nor Federal constitutions anywhere grant the government of Texas the power to encroach on the private liberties of individuals in this way, so far from being strict constitutionalists pursuing limited government, it is clear that the RPT wants to vastly expand government power to unconstitutionally encroach on the most private forms of private behaviour: who gets to have what kind of sex with whom. In fact, they even want to restrict an individual’s freedom to look at pictures of people having sex. That’s Big Government Conservatism at work.
  • In one of the more blatant contradictions, the RPT wants to remove parent’s right to kill their unborn children, but wants to affirm a parent’s right to withhold medically necessary care once those self-same children have been born.
  • Despite having declared that all members of government should be bound by the same laws as everyone else, the RPT calls upon the Legislature to exceed its enumerated powers by “funding and operating all state-supported living centers for the mentally disabled, increase training standards of state-supported living center employees, and ensure efficient funding and quality of service.”
  • They want to expand State employees powers to hit children
  • They oppose the teaching of “Higher Order Thinking Skills” that “challenge student’s fixed beliefs and undermine parental authority”. The results of this opposition are clear in their platform.
  • As well as opposing pornography and critical thinking skills, the RPT opposes censorship of the Internet.
  • The RPT is in favour of “free market solution” to drilling and mining for energy resources, but opposed to the creation of a free market in the atmospheric commons (Cap and Trade, which for some unaccountable reason they call a “tax”). Did I mention they were opposed to Higher Order Thinking Skills?
  • Weirdly, they want individual workers to sign off on the use of any union dues for political contributions, but they don’t say anything about requiring corporations to get individual sign-off from shareholders or workers (who after all generated the profits) for the use of corporate profits for political contributions.
  • The RPT supports free trade in goods but wants highly restrictive immigration policy, effectively creating a domestic underclass of workers.

You really can’t make this stuff up. Poe’s Law says that no parody is so broad and unrealistic that someone somewhere won’t take it seriously. When I first read this stuff I was in doubt as to whether anyone anywhere would be stupid enough to support this nonsense, but apparently the RPT has said they made a mistake including the explicit language about “critical thinking skills” and merely wanted to oppose anything that might challenge student’s fixed beliefs and undermine parental authority, although how that differs from opposing critical thinking skills is not clear. In any case, having issued a denial or correction, it is clear that this isn’t a parody, but a genuine statement of the Republican Party of Texas.

The most parodic bit is probably this little gem: Our policy [regarding Israel] is based on God’s biblical promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel and we further invite other nations and organizations to enjoy the benefits of that promise.

So we are clearly dealing with people with a pre-Enlightenment mindset that, like the post-modernist Left, rejects every notion of objectivity, fact, reality and science. They believe that their perceptions are reality, and that any inconsistency they detect is due to malicious influence rather than just ordinary human inadequacy. They oppose statistical analysis and correction of census data on these grounds: counting heads they understand. Beyond that, well, math is hard, let’s go to church!

In Canada we aren’t nearly so far down the road to serfdom that the RPT wants to take, but reading this kind of nonsense motivates me to get more involved in Canadian politics, as it is clear that amongst the modern Conservative Party there are people who would like us to take this path, and while I’m sure that’s not going to happen, I’m also sure the reason why is because ordinary Canadians will not stand for it. The center of that battle should be the Conservative Party itself, with the Red Guard–the old unwelcome Red Tories of yore–leading the charge.

About TJ

Scientist, engineer, inventor, writer, poet, sailor, hiker, canoeist, father.
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