Recently, approval for the completion of the fourth phase of the controversial XL Keystone Pipeline was put to a vote in the Senate but was fell one yes vote short of winning. All the Republicans in the Senate voted for it as well fourteen Democrats. The yes votes from the fourteen Democratic Senators should be of little surprise to anyone, being that they are a party with a long proud history of support for large scale government infrastructure projects and in practice are just as much in the pockets of big business as their loyal opposition. It is the universal approval of the project from the Republican Senators that is more interesting, as it demonstrates what an incredible lie the claim that the Republicans are a party of “free markets” or “small government” is.
Large scale government infrastructure projects such as the keystone pipeline are completely incompatible with either of these alleged “conservative principles”. Such a project would further distort the economy in favor of the oil industry which the Republican party is unabashedly in bed with, and it would employ tax payer dollars on this industry’s behalf. Such cronyism is the exact opposite of the free market or a limited government. This is only made worse by the fact that the project would require great deals of land taken through eminent domain, also known as government land theft.
In a free market, oil companies would be free to build their own infrastructure without tax-payer assistance. They would have to buy or compensate legitimate landowners for the use of their land and they would have to face full liabilities for any unintended damage that takes place. This, in other words, is the exact opposite of what the proposal voted on by the Senate. No consistent conservative (if there is such a thing) could support the current pipeline proposals, while remaining consistent with the state values of his or her political philosophy.
Unfortunately when ever self-proclaimed conservatives are in power they always pursue cronyist courses of action at the behest of big business with no concern about their expressed principles or the resulting distortion of the economy. It is as if they they believe anything that upsets liberals and benefits big business, is consistent with conservatism, which is clearly not the case.