In Part I of this series, I argued a fundamental reason our government is broken is the political selection process favoring ideological warriors over pragmatic problem solvers. I introduced my “Funnel of Futility” theory: as ideology becomes increasingly important in one’s decision-making process, the more futile working with an ideological opposite becomes. In contrast, as more data-intensive decision-makers interact, the partisan gap narrows, and government becomes more useful and efficient.
In Part II of this series, I suggested that government has overshot its equilibrium position in the modern U.S. economy, and Americans ought to make every effort to rein it in. That said, I suggested this site does not advocate a wide-ranging dismantling of every government department. As such, I advocated that the scalpel is always preferable to the hack saw when rolling back government overreach.
In Part III of this series, I maintained that equality of opportunity does not imply equality of outcomes. I further maintained that this site whole-heartedly and enthusiastically supports institutions that promote and recruit people based on a purely meritocratic system. The more data that an institution uses to measure its people, the better. That said, Reflections of a Rational Republican vehemently opposes government favoritism towards certain groups based on immutable characteristics such as race or sex. Rewarding certain groups who have earned their status, such as veterans, is acceptable since that is based on a person’s actions rather than something that one is either born with or not.
In Part IV of this series, I argued that free markets are preferable to tightly controlled ones. I further maintained that though markets may be chaotic, they are the single most efficient mechanism for price discovery in modern societies. Tightly controlled markets tend to be far more inefficient than free ones, because controlling entities like governments have no more information about that market than most individual participants. When governments impose too many regulations or try to maintain tight control of different industries, prices rise, and competition and quality tend to weaken. I concluded that the market is not a force of good or evil. It is like water. It will always take the path of least resistance.
In Part V of this series, I suggested that government does have a role in mitigating negative externalities and market failures that unencumbered capitalism can generate. Specifically, government has a role in establishing systems and regulations that curb negative externalities when business has little incentive to do so. Government also has a role in helping reduce the negative impacts when markets fail. That said, government regulations should balance their costs against their projected benefits. Heavy-handed and unnecessary regulation is worse than useless — it can result in real damage to the economy and people’s lives. In fact, Reflections of a Rational Republican believes that in recent years, the pendulum has swung too far toward overbearing regulation. While this site believes the market is efficient most of the time, government does have a role for softening the blows of more extreme market volatility, market failure, and the impact of business’ negative externalities.
In Part VI of this series, I maintained that individual rights trump communitarian impulses. Reflections of a Rational Republican is committed to adhering to Madison’s principles of supporting a representative government that protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority. So long as an individual rights do not harm those of another, the government ought to defend these rights against communitarian impulses.
Today, I will introduce the seventh and final official guiding principle of Reflections of a Rational Republican — a strong national defense is the cornerstone of a robust republic.
A Strong National Defense Is the Cornerstone of a Robust Republic
Free speech, property rights, and representative democracy are nothing without a strong national defense. Furthermore, it is critical that America’s military not only be able to defend the United States and its territories, but also that it be strong enough to guarantee access to critical geopolitical resources. America’s robust defense of free trade not only benefits its own national interests, but also promotes global stability and a rising middle class in countries like India and China.
Reflections of a Rational Republican supports a security policy based on the realist school of international relations — the same school that guided the actions of Reagan, Clinton, and George Bush, Sr. This view of international security policy posits that nations behave in a manner maximizing their vital national security interests. Any actions that do not further these interests are not worth pursuing.
Because Reflections of a Rational Republican subscribes to the realist school of international reflections it necessarily rejects both the isolationist wing of the Republican Party (e.g., Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan) and neoconservatives who believe America’s military should serve as an instrument of spreading democracy to undemocratic nations.
In summary, Reflections of a Rational Republican supports strong military power based on securing America’s vital interests around the world to ensure the smooth flow of international commerce, and to maintain access to critical commodities essential for ensuring American economic growth.