This week’s mid-term elections offered very little for the liberty-minded voter. On one side, we had Trump’s Republican party, which did rather well for us in 2017, but spent this year pursuing an agenda that included closed-border nativism, tariff and trade wars, rampant deficit spending, and not very much for a libertarian to cheer. On the other hand, we had a Democratic Party taken over, it seemed, by bug-nutty socialists who promised to give away everything that wasn’t nailed down (and much that was) while figuring out how to undo the things that Trump got right, and whose message, such as it was, involved stoking rage and playing on fear. Little there for a liberty-lover to embrace, or even nose-held tolerate.

Between elections, people talk about principles, about responsible government (whatever their version of it may be), and of holding politicians accountable. Come election time, however, all that goes out the window, and is replaced by an all-out tribalistic scrum, where people excuse the shittiness of their team because they think the other team is shittier. Oftentimes, this means overlooking major flaws, such as the domestic abuse allegations against newly minted Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, or the rampant (alleged) corruption of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, or the insider trading indictment against New York Congressman Chris Collins, to name but a few.

But, before you sink into a mire of depression, I can suggest there’s a silver lining in Tuesday’s results.

The history of American government, especially over the past century or so, is a history of excesses, waste, corruption, infringement on our rights, mortgaging of our future, and intrusion into virtually every corner of our lives. Every so often, we see politicians get a few things right, and we latch onto the hope that inspires the way Charlie Brown latches onto the hope that Lucy won’t pull the football away – this time. Remove the stars from your eyes, however, and all the bad that government is and does as a rule rather than as an exception cannot be denied. So, if it’s highly likely that government is going to do lots of stuff that doesn’t jibe with liberty, we’d be better off if we simply expected and hoped that government would do less stuff.

Just as the Republicans won back the House in 2010, and curbed the excesses of the Obama administration, the Democrats’ takeover of the House majority this week will serve to slow government down, and perhaps even grind it to a halt in many areas. Trump’s dumbass wall, unlikely even when the GOP had a House majority, is not going to happen, at least in the next two years. Unless, of course, some major horse-trading takes place, which will itself temper the aforementioned excesses that result from one-party rule.

If you’re on the Left, take heart in your side’s victory and in the forthcoming deceleration of the Trump agenda, but also take caution in the message of the election: the hard-leftist agenda didn’t resonate as well as some of you hoped.

If you’re on the Right, take heart in your side’s better-than-historically-typical showing, but also take heed of the message behind the losses: Trumpism isn’t selling in the suburbs.

If you’re a fan of liberty, take heart in the glorious gridlock that will stanch the worst proclivities of both parties, and remember – the Republic has survived Presidents worse than Trump and Congresses worse than the current one. A government that can’t get much done is a government that can do fewer bad things unto you.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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