Are you and have you ever been a member of the Natural Law Party, Mr. Plumber?

An interesting side-light in the saga of Joe the Plumber was that he was a registered member of the Natural Law Party.  Media reports have gotten some things about this political wrong, namely its continued existence — the national party dissolved in 2004, though they did set up a shadow government and allowed for the continued existence of state parties.  The state parties have all probably dried up by now as their use for vehicle for vanity political campaigns sputter away in the face of fraction of a percentage election results, but I would have to run through the “politics1″ page on minor parties to see if the Natural Law party still has some foothold anywhere.

(And a quick check shows that it does not any longer exist in electoral politics.  Idaho was the last strong-hold.)

Would I want to be identified with the Natural Law Party?  Would you want to be identified with the Natural Law Party?  I don’t know — it probably shouldn’t be held against you.  The focal point of the Natural Law Party, and its ultimate reason for being, was a belief in Transcendental Meditation under the auspices of the  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.   Moreso, from old wikipedia:  that the development of consciousness, in particular through the practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program including Yogic Flying, can enhance individual capability to resolve societal problems, and (2) that the practice of these techniques by a critical mass of the population, or else their group practice, in particular the group practice of Yogi Flying, results in overall improvements in society, including reduced crime, accidents and hospital admissions and improvements in prosperity, security and quality of life.  From this basic kernal the party can branch out and ornament its philosophy with some ecompass various liberal policy goals of an activist government and a peaceful political stance visa vie the world at large.  The “basic kernal” of Transcendetnal Meditation was always hiding behind the stated philosophy of “solving the world’s problems in an inter-connected” manner.  John Hagelin was the perpetual presidential candidate (in 2000 waging a battle against Pat Buchanan to control the Reform Party’s ballot access), until 2004 when they endorsed Dennis Kucinich for president.  I recall interviews with Kucinich where he was asked to address the members of his political following who got together in groups at the end of his speeches to practice some Yogic Flying — he demurred.  He also explained once how he was going to be elected president with a vast coalition of Democrats, “Reagan Democrats” who had been voting Republican, Green Party members, and Natural Law Party members.  Apparently including Joe Plumber.

My problem with Joe Plumber, therefor, does not really concern much his Aspirational politics where he believes (mistakenly) that he’s about to be taxed out the gorde as he is on the cusp of buying a $250,000 business, his lack of understanding of tax policy — people can vote for something that is not their immediate self-interest and for what they consider a larger interest — the only issue there is it would be nice if they know that.  Nor is it much of a concern that he is not a licensed plumber, and the immediate conspiracy theory that he was related to a member of the Keating family rang as immediately false.  No.  The problem is the inconsistency with someone who can spout out a litany of rather conservative opinions:

“Social Security’s a joke.  I have parents.  I don’t need another set of parents called the government.  Let me take my money and invest it how I please.  Social Security, I’ve never believed in, don’t like it, hate that it’s forced on me.”
“I’m not sorry that we’re in Iraq. … We’ve liberated another country.  I mean, you know, freedom. … I don’t know if you guys are Christians or not, but it’s like someone coming to Jesus and becoming saved.  These guys have freedom. … Has it kept us safe? Absolutely.  I believe in that 100 percent.”

(Also he’s tired of Americans apologizing for this greatest of nations, and dissing on the flag, and wants immigrants to get in line.)

… with someone who registered, unknowingly he states, with a political party that can eagerly endorse Dennis Kucinich.  You can be one or the other or you can be one and then the other, but you can not be both.  That does not square.  But everyone has their demons in the closet, I suppose.

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