If you intend actually to read the Democratic Party's platform, I shall not snicker or make faces. As a citizen of this republic, it is your constitutional right to read any literature that falls into your hands, no matter how incediasry or lewd. I would however, urge that you read this platform in a place where the strictures against noise pollution are winked at, lest the authorities haul you off to the calaboose for ecological reeducation.
This platform is a noisy one even by Democratic standards. Some of the noise are pure idiocy, a dozen alley cats howling through a lunatic night. Other noises are more violent. There are threats that the Democratic National Committee will "withhold financial support and technical campaign assistance from candidates who do not support the ERA." There are demands that the U.S. Treasury fork over $12 billion to fund ever more legions of federal leaf rakers and bench warmers. There are shouts that if taxpayers do not continue to pay off various Democratic interest groups, their allegiance to the republic will forever be sundered. Now there is a novel advance in the theory of justice for you. Why didn't old Jeff Davis think of that?
Here is a cacophony of complaints, threats, denunciations, lavish promises, extortionate demands and claptrap. Claptrap? Yes, my fellow Americans, it is my melancholy duty to say, claptrap. When the platform is not nagging, shouting, weeping or whining, it is solemnly enunciating such stuff as this: "Conservation is the cheapest form of energy production." Alas and alack, conservation is protection from loss or waste; it is not a form of production -- not here or anywhere.
Moreover, this platform is shot through with such contradictions as might sober up a drunk. There is a call for minimizing government regulation placed alongside calls for more regualtion and demands that OSHA be preserved from any rude violation whatever. There are promised economies; and there are demands for a national child-care program, a program of "comprehensive health-insurance," a "massive increase" in urban progress and so forth. In sum, the Democrats will continue their 15-year binge of spending, regulating, coercing and intruding into realms that were once the private domains of private citizens.
That such a deranged document could come from the Democratic Party should surprise no one. More than 450 of the asembled Democrats were members of the National Education Association. If there is another organization more ruinous to culture, learning and intelligent thought in America, I am unaware of it. And allow me the observation that the NEA paid for practically all its bench-persons' expenses. Imagine the uproar if Exxon did the same for its represenatives.
I am not alone in noting the sad state of intellect that now benights the Democrats. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Democratic senator from New York, has noted it in Aug. 16 issue of The New Republic. "Somewhere in the 1960s," Senator Moynihan writes, "we [the Democrats] ceased to be a party rather opposed to ideas . . . This had to do with embracing, simultaneously or in sequence, so many incompatible positions that it became necessary not to think too much." Moynihan is one of the Senate's oddballs. He is always interesting, and the interest is sparked not by lazy thrusts at conventional beliefs but by audacious penchant for searching out the truth. He goes on to warn his fellow Democrats that the Republicans are fast becoming "the party of ideas."
There is a vast mound of evidence confirming Sen. Moynihan's observation. In recent years, the most interesting development on the intellectual front has been the emergency of a group of wirters and accidents apprehensive over the depredations that the welfare state has made against liberty and the costs it has exacted from the private sector. Referred to as neoconservatives, these thinkers favor a vigorous foreign policy; and now they are entering the Republican Party, where they are actually being welcomed and respected. Irving Kristol, editor of The Interest and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, will doubtless pull the Republican lever this fall, and it is entirely possible that Norman Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, will do the same. Moving with them will be talented crowd of young intellectuals; for instance, Elliott Abrams, who once was Sen. Moynihan's administrative assistant.
Think of it: Republicans with pointy heads. Compare their platform with that of the Democratics. Moynihan has observed the difference: "The Republicans platform is a document replete with theory and discourse." The same cannot be said for the Democrats's platform.
Already, then, Campaign '80 is a historic event. The Republicans have become the party with brains. The Democrats have become the party of hysteria and bloodcurlihg yells.