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US/ Transforming Culture through Politics?

April Sat 02, 2011

(photo ANSA)  (photo ANSA)

The presidential election cycle has begun!  Did it ever end?  I follow politics much in the same way that many folks follow professional wrestling, Dancing with the Stars or the Jersey Shore reality show.  I admit that I view it as a form of entertainment — the superficiality of main-stream politics and punditry leads me to this mentality often times.  Look no farther than Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Bill O'Reilly.  In reality though it's much more than just solely a form of entertainment.  Elected officials send our sons and daughters off to war, some of whom return in caskets.  As Catholics we need to approach politics in a serious way.  Christ calls us to transform culture, not to be swallowed up by it.

On the Republican side, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, Ron Paul and others are all manoeuvring to formally announce their 2012 candidacy for the Presidency.  The Obama Administration is leaning forward in preparation as well for this electoral battle.  Who will be the last one standing in the political spectacle?  That's anyone guess.  What is known is the obscene amount of money that is required to win the Presidency.

One of the fascinating things to consider in these days is the main-streaming and embracing of Libertarianism within the Republican Party.  We got an early glimpse of this when William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater helped to build a coalition of fiscal and social conservatives with those who supported a strong foreign policy.  More recently, we saw it again when the godfather of modern Libertarianism, Murray Rothbard, endorsed Patrick J. Buchanan for President.  Today, Libertarianism is going mainstream with the popularity of Congressman Ron Paul and his son, Senator Rand Paul, as well as figures such as Judge Andrew P. Napolitano and Dr. Tom Woods.  The American Conservative magazine is one of the biggest proponents of this reduction of conservatism to Libertarianism.

Will the Republican's embrace of Libertarianism result in anything better than its embrace of Neoconservatism over the last decade?  Both are ideologies which deny many aspects of reality.  Can the Republican's "Big Tent" continue to stand with such contradictory ideologies under its shelter?  Even if it can, is it worth our endorsement and support?  This is what you must individually decide.



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