Advice for Republicans From Great Britain
AD: Would you recommend that the Republican Party in the U.S. follow the Tories or adopt something different?
EB: I don't know enough about Republican politics to comment, but it seems to me that they have a battered brand to repair, too. They need to address the issues that people really think are important to them -- issues about the way they live, not abstract issues of economics. The language needs to be less strident, perhaps, and more accessible and welcoming. But don't let any of that detract from the actual policies of sound management that you need to make a real difference to people and so get re-elected.
AD: Is there any required reading for budding younger Republicans to advise them on how to deal with socialists?
EB: There's an Adam Smith Institute book online called Freedom 101, which is a start. It takes 101 socialist arguments and demolishes them in a single paragraph each. It's mostly bound up with UK issues, but many of these are just as relevant to the U.S. But then why doesn't some enterprising group of younger Republicans produce one of their own? Apart from that, let me put in another free advertisement for my own book, The Best Book on the Market. It's very short, but it explains how free markets work and why they are more rational than central planning and more moral than socialism.
AD: Do you think the "move to the right" EU-wide is a reason for optimism?
EB: I am always optimistic, because however enticing are the politically correct arguments of the left, young people in particular know that the only lasting solutions are ones which address the real issues for the long term, rather than go for quick gains now. It's easy to see the immediate gains from rent controls, or minimum wages, or import restrictions against countries that compete with your own manufacturers. But in the longer term, policies like those harm the very people they are meant to help and impoverish the whole country. Young people know that, so I am optimistic. But I have little trust in politicians, of any color.
The Bush administrations both promised sound policies but then left government bigger than they had found it. That's a problem of how the political system works. I would like to see term limits and other initiatives to stop politics from becoming a profession, a career. It should be a service, a calling. The trouble right now is that the political class -- politicians, journalists and so on -- have their whole lives invested in politics, so they naturally want and give us more of it. Personally, I'd like to see government so small that nobody would notice if it went on holiday for a month. You can't do that while the entire career structure of journalists and politicians depends on them expanding the scope of politics more and more.
Many thanks to Eamonn for taking the time to respond to my questions. His responses contain some fine ideas to ponder. The right in the UK, of all types, closely monitors the machinations of American politics. They do so to both emulate and avoid depending on how successful the American right is at any one time.
Before scoffing at the ideas of the UK right, as several commenters seem to consistently do, one must realize that Obama and his cronies seem keen to pinch ideas from the Labour playbook, both old and new. Many American socialists look admirably to the British Labour Party and its leaders. If the U.S. does not want to end up the basketcase the UK currently finds itself resembling, then watching for their mistakes might be a good idea.