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A Pirate Take on the Republican Platform


The Republican Platform makes interesting reading. As part of a series on the policies of other political parties, I will summarize the Republican Platform and provide a first stab at a Pirate Party response to it. This is part of an ongoing effort within the US Pirate Party to develop a comprehensive Pirate platform that covers all issues.

I’ll start with an objective summary of the Republican platform, and then give a Pirate analysis that shows any areas where we agree, and those parts where we see it differently.

The Facts in Brief

In brief, the elements of the Republican Platform in the 2012 election were as follows.

  1. Decentralize some powers of the Federal Government and devolve powers to State and local governments, as well as the private sector. Privatize many functions of the Federal Government.
  2. Deregulate in many different areas, relying on the private sector to accomplish most objectives.
  3. Flatten taxes. Continue reduced taxes for the richest Americans. Close tax loopholes to avoid driving up the budget deficit.
  4. Oppose affirmative action. The mantra is “equality of opportunity, but not equality of outcome.”
  5. Streamline and privatize entitlements, replacing many kinds of government assistance with concepts of personal responsibility. They would tie public assistance to employment. Raise the social security retirement age and partially privatize Medicaid and Medicare.
  6. Repeal Obamacare and rely on free market forces to drive down the cost of health care.
  7. Crack down on illegal immigration. Affirm English as the only official language, require
  8. Affirm “American Exceptionalism,” the concept that the US is fundamentally unlike other nations. Oppose any cuts to defense spending and reject numerous international treaties that they see as eroding US sovereignty.
  9. Rely on dramatic cuts in social spending to balance the budget.
  10. Protect traditional marriage and oppose gay-rights initiatives.
  11. Generally weaken the power of unions and lawyers, while strengthening the power of corporations and  religious institutions. Support free speech when it comes to campaign spending.
  12. It is a pro-life policy that opposes abortion and assisted suicide, deplores requiring private insurers to provide abortion coverage and would end all federal funding of any plan that covers contraception or abortion.
  13. Reject drug legalization and ramp up the war on drugs.
  14. Prevent courts from recognizing protections not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. This includes protections for gay rights and abortion rights.

This is a very high level overview that leaves out many specific policy proposals, some of which are very important.

Core Values

For reference, the Core Values of the US Pirate Party are available in our wiki: Core Values.

Pirate Analysis

Pirates are inherently mistrustful of government power. However we feel that the government certainly has a role to play in leveling the playing field and protecting the weak from being oppressed. We might agree with the statement “equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome” but we are disappointed that the Republicans have done everything possible to stand in the way of equality of opportunity. Flattening taxes is an ironic concept because it only applies to the income tax – Republicans want to keep regressive taxes like FICA in place.

The subtext of the Republican platform is to give greater power to corporations and to repeal regulations that protect individual rights and allow corporations to off-load expenses onto society. These things are clearly contrary to the core values of the Pirate Party.

Some elements of Republican policy seem to be contradictory. They want to leave as much as possible to the states, but they want to impose a series of conservative policies on gay people, women who want abortion or contraception, and Washington DC. They call for a balanced budged, but want to cut taxes and dramatically increase defense spending, which will certainly increase the deficit.

The Pirate Party is strongly pro-privacy. Abortion rights are framed as a privacy issue, which makes it unlikely that we could ever support the Republican position. Our pro-equality position means that we have to support gay rights and everyone’s right to live life as they see fit. This probably includes drug legalization.

Our position on equality seems to contradict American Exceptionalism. The US should play by the same rules we apply to other countries. We should crack down on corporations that hire illegal immigrants and make them pay repatriation costs. We should increase immigration, especially in areas where we have jobs that are vacant because no one can do them. We should seek to limit the unfair influence that corporations exert on politics,rather than trying to protect and expand it.

Summary

The Pirate Party has some elements of libertarianism in it, but other than that we have less in common with the Republicans than with the Libertarians, the Greens and the Democrats.


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Further information

Free USPP Book: No Safe Harbor

Free USPP Book: No Safe Harbor

IRC Meetings

The US Pirate Party holds monthly planning meeting over IRC, with dates announced a week in advance.

To participate in the meetings:

  • Go to webchat.pirateirc.net
  • Fill out the web form with the Nickname of your choice and enter #uspp in the Channel box next to it, then click the Connect button
  • Start typing and reading

You can also connect via your IRC client at one of the servers listed at http://pirateirc.net/servers.

It is also recommended that you register your nick.