by Dr. Edwin Berry
“Montana’s Last Indian Water Compact: The Truth about the Compact and the Republican Party” is available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon.
The story of Montana’s Last Indian Water Compact reveals, like no other true story, the nature of the split in the Republican Party.
This story needs to be told, and I may be the only one who will ever tell it.
To understand politics, you must understand this story.
Montana’s CSKT Water Compact
Montana’s Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Water Compact in 2015 may have been the most important and controversial issue in Montana’s history.
Its ratification would resolve all Montana’s Indian water-rights issues forever. Its rejection would subject Montanans to a generation of the most-costly legal battles in Montana’s history.
Most Montana’s farmers and ranchers, city managers and business leaders supported the Compact. Democrat legislators supported the Compact.
Before November 2014, I opposed the Compact. But, as a physicist, I realized I should study the Compact. So, I read and organized the arguments on both sides.
By December 2014, I realized my original conclusion was wrong. The arguments against the Compact clearly failed and facts proved the Compact was necessary for Montana.
My book explains the well-documented four faces of the Republican Party and how one face opposed the Compact.
The Republican split
The Republican split occurs because the three faces that compose 80 percent of Republicans regularly support the Republican nominee, while the one face that composes 20 percent of the Republican Party regularly opposes the Republican nominee.
The source of the split is major ideological difference between the 80 percent and the 20 percent. Therefore, Republicans cannot resolve the split by compromise because these diverse ideologies cannot compromise. Only the 20 percent can resolve the split when they realize their ideology is factually and morally wrong. Don’t hold your breath.
The split over the Water Compact matched the split in the Republican Party. The 80 percent supported the Compact and the 20 percent opposed the Compact.
We call the 20-percent face of the Republican Party, VCEs. My book describes this designation in detail. They represent only 10 percent of all voters. Percentages differ somewhat in different states but the general pattern is consistent in all states.
Democrats and Republicans differ on partisan bills. However, the Compact was a bipartisan bill that all parties should have decided on facts and logic. But the VCEs disagreed.
Aristotle’s Golden Mean
Nelson Hultberg describes Aristotle’s Golden Mean in his book “The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values.” Aristotle concluded the middle 60 to 80 percent are much more likely to be correct than the radical 10 percent on each end of the political spectrum.
In the political spectrum, VCEs are to the right of 1.4 standard deviations from the mean. They are the last 10 percent on the right. They are the radical right.
VCEs were wrong about the Compact.
Compact proponents based their arguments on facts and logic.
Compact opponents based their arguments on delusions. They opposed the Compact because they believed it was an Agenda 21 government conspiracy to steal Montana’s water. The fact is Compact rejection would have caused Montana to lose control of its water. VCEs had their “facts” backwards.
VCEs are so convinced they are right, that they reject evidence that proves they are wrong. Their radical ideology led them to oppose the CSKT Water Compact and to reject all arguments that proved their claims were wrong.
They voted their conscience rather than their intelligence. They let their fears drive their decisions.
They opposed the Compact because their political religion dictated opposition. Their opposition to the Compact proves their political religion is wrong.
Why the split matters.
You might ask, why should the split matter because the Republican 80 percent can outvote the 20 percent?
The split matters because the 20 percent VCEs are much more politically active than the other 80 percent of Republicans. Neither Republican nor Democrat voters understand the difference between the Republican 80 percent and the radical VCEs 20 percent. Therefore, unaware voters elected VCEs to 80 percent of the Republican seats in Montana’s 2015 House.
Because the VCEs dominated the Republicans in Montana’s House and Republicans outnumbered the Democrats, Montana’s House ratified the Compact by only ONE vote.
The Compact was not an inconsequential bill that would have minor effect on Montana whether approved or rejected. The Compact was a significant bill that would have a dramatic effect on Montana’s economy, forever. Compact ratification would save Montana’s water rights and Compact rejection would lose Montana’s water rights, forever, plus cost Montana a whole lot of money.
VCEs make bad political decisions. Montana’s Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Water Compact is a case in point.
Perfection or Rejection
As a group, VCEs have unique characteristics. They have a perfection obsession. They believe if something or someone is not perfect by their definition, they must vote to condemn the something or the someone to hell.
VCEs view the world as black and white with no gray scale. To them, it’s perfection or rejection.
VCEs demand Godly perfection of candidates and bills. Yet, they are far from Godly perfection themselves. Godly perfection does not exist in our real world. VCEs live in a dream world.
VCEs thought if they could find one imperfection in the Compact, that was a reason to reject the Compact. After 12 years of work funded by our taxpayers, VCEs decided the Compact was not good enough for them to send to heaven, so they voted to send the Compact to hell.
Negative Voting Mantra
Another unique characteristic is their negativity. Their preachers are negative. Compared to other Republicans, VCE’s see the cup as half empty whereas other Republicans see the cup as half full.
VCEs follow the Negative Voting Mantra: “A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil.”
They use their Negative Voting Mantra to justify their votes against Republican nominees who are “not good enough” for them. They vote for third-party candidates who can’t win.
VCEs remove votes from the better candidate among candidates who can win. They achieve the exact opposite of their political goal. The Negative Voting Mantra achieves the greater evil and is immoral.
Positive Voting Principle
The alternative to the Negative Voting Mantra is the Positive Voting Principle. Aristotle’s Positive Voting Principle is:
Our moral duty is to vote to achieve the most possible good, which eliminates voting for candidates who cannot win, and eliminates mandatory conditions.
Stated simply, the Positive Voting Principle is:
Always vote and act to achieve the greatest possible good.
Historically, some very qualified philosophers have weighed in on the Positive Voting Principle and the Negative Voting Mantra. The Catholic Church and the six major Protestant churches support the Positive Voting Principle and reject the Negative Voting Mantra.
America’s Founding Fathers used the Positive Voting Principle. They voted for the greater good. If each Founding Father rejected what he thought was imperfect, they would not have approved our Constitution.
VCEs call themselves “Constitutionalists” but they reject the Positive Voting Principle that was necessary to produce our Constitution. The VCEs who opposed the CSKT Water Compact would have opposed our Constitution because it was not perfect.
VCE claim a candidate must meet certain “mandatory” conditions to get their vote. They think their mandatory conditions show they hold high moral standards. In fact, their mandatory condition show they do not understand morals and logic.
For example, some VCEs told me before the 2014 election, “I can’t vote for Ryan Zinke” because his prolife position “is not good enough” for me.
I replied that Ryan Zinke scored 90 percent on a prolife evaluation and his Democratic opponent scored zero. This did not matter to these VCEs. Zinke’s 90-percent score on a prolife test was “not good enough” for them. They required a score of 100 percent. They required perfection.
These VCEs believed it would have been a sin for them to vote for Zinke because he was not perfect. Yet they believe it was no sin to help the Democrat to win. They are not only illogical, they are immoral.
Their VCE mandatory conditions eliminated Ryan Zinke who was clearly the “greater good” candidate from their own VCE perspective.
Here how VCEs think:
Suppose you can vote for Candidate A, whose abortion policies will kill 10 million babies, or Candidate B, whose policies will kill 1 million babies. Who will you vote for?
All normal Christians will vote for Candidate B so they can save 9 million babies.
VCEs won’t vote to save 9 million babies because Candidate B is not perfect enough for them.
VCEs don’t understand bipartisan issues.
VCEs believe all issues are partisan. They do not believe in bipartisan bills where Republicans should vote the same as Democrats, like paving our highways.
Compact opponents claimed Republicans should always vote the opposite of Democrats. They call Republicans who vote the same as Democrats, “RINOs.” They don’t understand that “RINO” applies only to partisan issues, not to bipartisan issues.
Therefore, they concluded, since the Democrats supported the Compact, all Republicans must oppose the Compact.
VCEs don’t understand Bible admonition on “works”
VCE they VCEs don’t understand the definition of the word “works.” They think their actions are works. They do not understand that works are the results of actions, not the actions themselves.
VCEs think they do good works if they vote their feelings or “conscience,” as VCE Ted Cruz told his audience to do at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
VCEs define “good” by how their actions make them “feel,” regardless of the consequences.
VCEs who opposed the CSKT Water Compact, voted their “conscience.”
VCEs claim they have a moral compass. But their compass points in the wrong direction.
It takes intelligence to predict results of our actions. We must use our intelligence to choose the action the brings the desired result.
VCEs elected Democrat US Senator Tester in 2012.
The VCEs voted Libertarian rather than for Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg for US Senate. The VCEs’ Libertarian votes were substantially more than Tester’s win over Rehberg. So, the VCEs elected Democrat Tester to the US Senate for six more years.
Now you know why the dominantly conservative State of Montana elects Democrats to key positions in Montana and Congress. It is because VCEs throw childish temper tantrums when Republican voters nominate non-VCE candidates.
Ryan Zinke won decisively in 2014 and 2016.
VCEs would not support Ryan Zinke for Congress. But Ryan Zinke won the Republican primary election and the Republican nomination without their help.
Zinke proved Republican candidates do better when they get more votes in the middle of the political spectrum even if they lose votes from the radical VCEs.
The Montana 2016 election results prove the VCEs have little influence in the outcome of major elections. VCEs simply do not have enough votes to change elections in their favor. The only effect they can have is to vote Libertarian to try to deprive a Republican candidate of a victory.
Thanks to Republican voters in Montana, Ryan Zinke will be your next Secretary of Interior.
Voter wake-up call
The CSKT Water Compact is an example of how the far-right VCE Republicans make bad decisions.
All voters everywhere should realize the danger to themselves when they elect too many VCEs.