Big Tents are contentious places, like Mos Eisley or Kyln Prison. When advocates speak of unity, they are not necessarily speaking of friendship. They are speaking of periods of cordial truce and opportunistic cooperation. Unity is predicated upon the proposition that our governments are controlled by one of two political parties and that everything depends upon the maintenance of majorities.
Conservatives, Libertarians, and Constitutionalists aren’t the largest voices in the Republican Party, but we have a much larger voice within the GOP than we do within the Democrat Party. So, our priorities are clear. Keep the Republicans in power and increase our numbers in our legislatures in order to capture positions of leadership and influence.
Republicans have bought into a narrative that the Democrats are unified, while we fight like children. This isn’t true. The only ones who know that we fight like children are those of us doing to the fighting. For the rest of the voting public, they react to what they see on TV and what they feel in their bank accounts. Plus, the Democrats have been having worse fights and they have made massive strategic errors alienating all moderates who happen to believe in life and in the right to bare arms. All these moderates are Republicans now – not because we won them over, but because they were excommunicated from the Democratic Hive Mind.
Let’s be honest. Those activists who talk about not voting or voting for 3rd parties, aren’t the pure and principled amongst us. They are people unable to live in a world dependent upon cooperation. They are people unable to participate in a party with vast numbers of individuals with differing opinions. They are narcissists who value their own individuality above the individuality of others. They say, “I cannot vote for someone who will not support my interests,” and yet they accept the government of others all around them. They accept the strategic use of force against the interests of their own liberty, but still refuse to pick a side in the process which elects and selects the administrators. This is very strange.
What are some other examples of Big Tents? Agamemnon marched an army of kings to the gates of Troy. NATO serves as a bulwark against future Russian empires. 50 States coexist under a single American Flag.
In a sense, Big Tents are nothing more than organic Federalist systems. I am often surprised by the sheer number of “conservatives” who say that they believe in Federalism and States Rights, but who fail to apply the same necessary principles to the Republican Party. Or, do we only call for States Rights when we disagree with the Federal Government? And do we call of Local Rights when we disagree with the States. What do we call for when we’re in no majority anywhere? The rule of the minority?
The Republican Party has become a tribe of tribes in the United States of America. Brought together by a resistance to communism, socialism, and statism, as well as by a resistance to the erosion of rights and a clear understanding of our Constitution. What holds us together is the unmistakable fact that, despite the Democrat Party’s proclivities toward a laissez faire approach to culture, the Democrat Party is committed to top-down, centralization of control and interference over all things economic (all voluntary human behavior in a market). The government shouldn’t be in complete control over our lives, our businesses, our children’s education, our health care, our entertainment and leisure, our food and drinks, or our agreements of trade with other free people.
At heart, we’re all Republicans because we want to be as free as is reasonably possible. We disagree about what reasonably possible means and we fight like mad over who gets to define that. We come together in one tent because opposite us is one tent. When the Left breaks apart into a dozen separate political parties, then we can too. Even if that happened, we’d end up forming the same natural coalitions.
It’s OK that we fight. It is natural that we fight amongst ourselves; but let’s not forget why we’ve brought our factions under this one tent. We do so because we understand the realities of government. We do not allow our ideals to blind us to practical matters. We understand that legislatures are controlled by majorities. To have a voice at the table’s of power (called committees), one must belong to the majority party. We must work together and compete for power at the same time.
Think of the Republican Party like a Symphony Orchestra. They are one orchestra with many talented contributors jostling for first chair. However, on the night of their performance, they set aside their personal ambitions and play as one.