How Can One Hold Political Party Values

How many times have you heard somebody say they hold Republican or Democratic Party values? I hear people claiming their political philosophy is based on party values alarmingly often. Party values make for a poor political philosophy because they are subject to change every four years. Unless your political philosophy is literally obedience to a party there is no way to claim to believe in party values while remaining philosophically consistent.

Consider the 2012 Democratic Party platform, which changed drastically from 2008’s platform. In the time span between 2008 and 2012 somebody claiming they support Democratic Party values would have been claiming to stand in favor of ending indefinite detention, repealing the PATRIOT Act, closing Guantanamo Bay, stopping racial profiling, and ending the use of torture on military prisoners. After the Democratic National Convention in 2012 those same people would no longer be claiming such stances.

The Republican Party fairs no better. Consider the party’s change in stated beliefs regarding global warming climate change global climate disruption climate change and renewable energy. Somebody claiming to support Republican Party values in 2008 would have been stating support for finding a market solution to combat climate change and a commitment to issuing tax credits for the promotion of developing renewable energy. That same person after 2012 would be claiming to oppose the entire concept of climate change and believing in a very vague concept of promoting renewable energy.

Claiming you support Republican or Democratic ideals is as good as saying nothing at all. Party platforms can and do change every four years at national conventions. For four years the Republican Party could stand for repealing all gun control laws only to change four years later to supporting the enforcement of current gun control laws. The Democratic Party could stand for ending all foreign wars American is currently engaged in for four years only to change their stance and support continuing those wars after a national convention. That’s why basing one’s political philosophy on party ideals can only lead to inconsistency and hypocrisy.