Is the GOP Fit for Liberal Democracy?

Shadia B. Drury


The Republican Party contains a motley collection of ideologies that are either profoundly illiberal or staunchly undemocratic—or both. In what follows, I will identify four ideologies within the GOP that need to be totally discarded. The fifth has some potential but needs a makeover if the Party is to be fit for power in a liberal democracy.

The first and most pervasive of these ideologies is the free market. This ideology has its source in Friedrich Hayek’s concept of “spontaneous order," which he describes in The Constitution of Liberty. The idea is that unbridled capitalism yields meritocratic results. So, if governments were to refrain from interfering in the economy, the result would be a world in which the creative, daring, and hard-working will rise to the top. It follows that any effort to dampen economic inequality will amount to taking away from the deserving few and giving it to the undeserving many. The tax bill passed by the Republican Congress in 2017 is a textbook case of this fanciful ideology.

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