So, Tea Partiers, shouldn’t we be in better shape after all these years?

Yesterday this column began looking at a 1990 speech given by the late Warren T. Brookes titled “Public Education and the Global Failure of Socialism.” For twenty years those on our side of the political aisle have known — or should have known — exactly what is wrong and how it needs to be righted. Instead, we have big government, big debt, big problems, a public education system that is failing, creeping socialism — and Obama.

The principles that work haven’t changed. Having learned the policy fundamentals in the 1980s — it hasn’t been easy for me to stomach the performance of our Republican Party and political leaders for well over two decades. In his speech, Warren Brookes gave this excellent summary:

Marxist socialism has failed primarily because of its total failure to comprehend the true nature of wealth and of man, seeing both as primarily physical and finite. If such a view were correct, it would be both fair and just to have a system that collectively ensured equitable distribution of a limited resource base. Instead, of course, both reason and revelation, not to mention history and experience, have taught us that wealth is primarily metaphysical, the product more of mind than of matter, and that man himself is primarily mental and spiritual, and not merely a physical component of a collective mass.

This alone explains why individual freedom combined with market capitalism has invariably produced greater economic growth, wealth and prosperity than collectivist planning and redistribution. Spirituality and freedom will always triumph over materialism and totalitarian tyranny.

For decades I’ve been having this conversation (not exactly like Brookes puts it) with non-political people in taverns, restaurants, churches, at little league games and in various work places — and I’m always struck by the widespread agreement on the basics of life when it comes to economic and moral common sense.

Things are only get screwed up with they’re filtered through a perverted and immature pop culture, big media machine, or a hack driven political arena.

Limiting government, a strong national defense & smart foreign policy, and the importance of traditional values — it’s not rocket science. On that last item — behavior is civilization, and it’s time to quit pretending we can have a strong economy with a corrupted culture.

Don’t promise what you can’t afford and don’t spend more than you take in. C’mon — you’ve got to have a baleful of morons in state and federal government to do that for as long as we’ve seen it done. There is no other explanation.

Brookes spoke twenty years ago about “the Quantum Economy”:

If the economic pie is, as we have learned, primarily the result of imagination, ideas, intelligence and human creative energy, the freer the sources of those mental and spiritual qualities are, the fewer the limits to the potential size of that pie, and the development of individual human beings.

Although this was the fundamental hypothesis of Adam Smith some two centuries ago, namely that turning loose the creative, God-given energies of the human spirit would enrich all nations, it is infinitely more true today in what George Gilder calls the ‘quantum economy.’

Brookes then turned to the topic of America’s public schools. The advance of information and technology, he said,

 has made the individual and his nation more dependent than ever for economic well being on knowledge, understanding, intelligence, information. And this in turn means that more than ever before the key to competitive survival lies in extending, not limiting, liberty and improving our education.

As Thomas Jefferson wisely put it, ‘If a nation expects to be ignorant and free…it expects what never was and never will be.'”