When we are all arguing policy with one another we sometimes fail to step back and look at the possible “end states” of our policies and ideology. Basically, if you could get everything that your party wants, what would your country look like in the end? What would your economic policies result in for society as a whole? How would the distribution of wealth look like in society?
In this article, I extrapolate the stated policies of the 2012 GOP, in an attempt to formulate a view of what a Republican controlled country would look like in the absence of an opposition party. While this extrapolation is subjective and based upon my opinion, I believe it to be depressingly accurate and would hope that centrists would work with progressives in order to prevent such a world from being created.
The Republican World
Economic status: Total privatization of social programs/goods, corporate power is dominant over individual power and near-complete deregulation of industry.
The economy in a Republican America is based entirely upon the profit motive. Companies compete in an anarcho-capitalistic market and regulations have long been repealed. Without regulations, corporations become massively profitable through the shifting of externalities (ex. pollution) onto the general public.
Due to the inherent flaws in the free market ideology when it mixes with a corporatist political system, large corporations dominate over smaller ones through undercutting prices, rigging the tax code, and manipulating the awarding of contracts. The free market is degraded to the point where it is filled with rampant cronyism.
“Pro-corporate” politicians remain in power over the less corporately owned ones because of sheer volume of money and advertising—corporations have long bought the political mainstream and hold a near-perfect control over the political processes. The cycle of corporations buying political support and awarding office leads to the entirely “Pro-Business” regulatory climate; regulations on labor, pollution and product safety have been completely repealed, leading to massive profits for the corporations and those who have money, while the other 90% are little better than serfs.
With the destruction of labor regulations and unionization there are few protections for the worker. Wages, hours and benefits are cut for blue-collar workers, but the management class sees its work benefits skyrocket—it is a virtual certainty that workers will be forced to work longer hours, for less compensation (an extreme extension of what we see in “right to work” states). Worker safety decreases at the same time legal liability for the companies does, leading to little recourse for the worker when they are harmed on the job.
Due to the shifting of externalities onto the public as well as the decrease in benefits given to the non-management class workers, the wealth gap has become enormous: The rich are extremely rich while the poor are essentially destitute. There is very little social mobility in this world and those who have power will tend to retain it.
Infrastructure status: Near-completely privatized
The infrastructure of the USA in a Republican end state is completely privatized—from education to public safety. Large corporations will compel the government that they own to sustain a minimum transportation infrastructure (ex. highways) to allow their goods to be taken to market, but all infrastructure programs which don’t benefit the wealthy will not be funded (ex. public transportation) A lack of investment in huge portions of the national infrastructure has led to a massive decrease in the ability of the population to become educated, travel, and remain safe in their own homes.
The public school systems have either been destroyed or eviscerated to fund vouchers to private schools; unfortunately, these schools cannot accommodate all students, thus many American children will be stuck in the decayed public school system. Teachers unions are gone, thus teachers get far less money for their hard work and quality teachers have become hard to find. A decrease in the draw for competent teachers has reduced the quality of education to the point where we simply no longer can compete in the world in terms of innovation. A very small upside to this situation is that the rich childrens’ private schools would be superior and this would allow a privileged overclass to take up the mantle of the highest echelons of society (normally I don’t agree with Marxism but this is one thing that they predicted accurately).
Police and fire protection have been privatized to the point where more affluent areas get superior coverage but the rest of society suffers from a terminal lack of protection. Look at the situation where a privatized fire department let a house burn down over a $75 missed fee, despite having their equipment on site and you will see the future as the Republicans see it. The civil protection infrastructure has been reduced to gated communities for the rich, and the wild-west for the poor.
The military would remain a public good, but only because you have to pay private military contractors far better than simple soldiers; it would be a shame if the warmongers needed to pay even larger exorbitant amounts during their perpetual wars.
Social-political status: Fewer constitutional rights and an implementation of Christian religious laws
In the Republican world, all social policy and rights are founded in the writings of two documents: the Constitution (or somebody’s warped interpretation) and the Bible. As the Republicans in power believe that the social safety net is unconstitutional, it no longer exists in this world. Social security has either been eliminated or privatized in a way that transforms it into a voucher program which gives out a pittance in benefits. The poor and disabled live in far inferior conditions to what they do now and people are forced to work longer and harder.
Medicare and Medicaid have been completely disbanded because come on, what an infringement it would be if everybody were forced to have medical insurance coverage (no shit, this is their argument). As we saw before the start of social medical programs, many more people will get sick and die prematurely than do now.
Rights in the Republican America are simplified into two categories: The second amendment and whatever it says in the bible. Gun rights are absolute and so are the rights of free speech, just as long as your views are in line with the conservative views. Other than part of the first amendment and an expansion of the second amendment, the constitution is only given lip service.
Due to the bible’s control over the social policy of the Republican America, abortion and gay rights have been completely abolished—not to say that abortions would not occur and gay people wouldn’t exist, but they will be criminalized (like in Texas during the 20s) under the law. In addition to the banning of abortion and legalized bigotry against homosexuals, the modern version of New England’s “blue laws” will be implemented against “un-Christian” behaviors (ex. profanity laws, enforced Sabbaths, etc.). While those in power will likely implement numerous “biblical” laws, it is unlikely that divorce and adultery will be illegal, as many conservatives would be afraid of being penalized.
If you are Christian, white and upper-class, this world would be a very comfortable place to live in but otherwise, I would wish you luck.
System sustainability: Strong
The Republican end state would be a very stable political system, until it reached a critical point of poverty and civil discontent—then there would be a complete collapse, followed by a reconstruction. Corporate money and propaganda would allow those in power to keep a lid on dissent, even in the face of massive poverty and the retraction of civil rights. While voting would remain, the only candidates to run would be establishment hacks who were already controlled by those with money. Some protest is inevitable, but it would never penetrate the petrified crust of corporate power that surround the mainstream politics.
Those who are seen as ideologically impure would be quickly expunged from the political scene and replaced with more compliant politicians. The Republican political establishment would reject any call to change and the massive concentration of money in the top echelons of society would make us resemble a feudal society: one lord per hundreds of indentured serfs. Without power to resist, the Republican America would be very difficult to return to a more balanced system.
Once a critical point of poverty and discontent is reached in this society, there would be massive civil unrest, followed by a total revolution. The people who had been held down for decades would explode in anger and it is likely that they would lash out at the perceived “haves”. At the end of this conflict, it is likely that society will be re-organized and new, “revolutionary” groups would take over (essentially, the American equivalent to the French Revolution).