Democrats and Republicans are the same


CW / Kylie Cowden

Carter Yancey

In case you haven’t heard yet, our political system is divided primarily into two sects: Democrats on the left, Republicans on the right. Abraham Lincoln was our first Republican president, and since 1852 all of our presidents have been either a Republican or a Democrat. Comparatively, the parties had much more in common back then, but in recent decades the left has leaned too far and tumbled further to the left and the right has regressed more and more into the right; the disagreements between the parties have grown more stark and their tolerance for one another has all but vanished. Republicans champion themselves as preservers of conservative values; Democrats proudly fight for an ever changing, progressive society. The most surefire way to offend either would be to call one the other – and that’s exactly what I’m here to do.

When I say that Republicans and Democrats are the same, what I mean is that their political philosophies do not differ fundamentally. That is not to say that their opinions on political issues are not different; it only means that the implications of their solutions to social issues indicate that their views on the function of government fall under the same classification: they are both statists. They both view government as a tool to serve their own self interest and enforce their view of morality. The difference between the two is not in how they understand the role of government, but solely in their standards of value. Republicans tend to value religion, nationalism, and individualism whereas Democrats often prefer secularism, globalism, and community. This is why their rhetoric is often the same in style but different in content, and it is why they claim to fight for the same things but are always fighting each other.

Republicans fight for freedom – as long as that means freedom to carry guns, not to marry the same sex. Democrats also fight for freedom – as long as it’s the freedom to get an abortion, not to pick and choose whom you serve with your business. Conservatives hate government hand-outs to the poor but love farming subsidies (both a form of welfare), while Progressives endorse single-payer health-care systems while simultaneously calling for cuts to the oil industry (again, both a form of government welfare). Conservatives are excited when Trump “creates jobs” by regulating international trade and Democrats are pleased when regulating wages. Democrats are enthusiastic about regulating the drug industry, yet hate it when the Republicans regulate the trade of cannabis. Both the left and the right want the government to guarantee security; the one by collecting intelligence on its own citizens and impromptly declaring war on anything resembling an enemy, the other by ensuring insurance and protecting the environment.

The reason both political parties are hypocritical in how they deal with virtually every issue is because politics has moved away from its root in philosophy. The Founding Fathers were academics, lawyers and philosophers. Politicians now days are…well, politicians. The government was for the People and by the People – but the People were tired of government and made sure they understood what it was doing. No longer do we ask ourselves how an issue relates to our political philosophy – now we ask ourselves how an issue makes us feel and how we would make things if we were Dictator Supreme. People go through the issues one by one and arbitrarily assign a solution without regard for the implications of such a solution on the rest of their ideology and without considering if they are being intellectually consistent. Today the biggest question is “how ought the government do this,” when our forefathers started by asking “ought the government do this?”

Such a way of thinking (or, rather, lack thereof) has resulted in a Republican party that insists the government stay out of their personal lives while stopping at nothing to force their religious values on others and a Democratic party that, frankly, is so ideologically convoluted that it’s difficult to specify only one contradiction. So the next time you hear a Republican say they are in favor of small government, know that they’re either lying to you or have been indoctrinated by a Republican who has lied to them. Next time a Democrat calls themselves progressive, remember that they cling to the age-old tribalism of our ancient ancestors. And whenever one insults the other – remind them that they’re both the same.

Carter Yancey is a sophomore majoring in computer science and mathematics. His column runs biweekly.