Skip to comments.Neoconservatism, not libertarianism, is the true aberration on the American Right
Posted on 04/08/2010 9:27:19 AM PDT by rabscuttle385
During a question-and-answer session at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., one man opined, "One thing I've learned here at CPAC is that the 'C' actually doesn't stand for 'libertarianism.' It's not 'L'PAC." When Congressman Ron Paul won the annual straw poll at CPAC, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh made a point to tell his listeners that CPAC wasn't conservative this year because a libertarian had won.
Both men are worse than just wrong. They're out of their minds.
Arguably the most popular history of American conservatism, George H. Nash's book The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America begins with libertarianism. In the first chapter titled "The Revolt of the Libertarians," Nash states: "For those who believed in the creed of old-fashioned, classical, 19th-century liberal individualism, 1945 was especially lonely, unpromising, and bleak. Free markets, private property, limited government, self reliance, laissez-faire it had been a long time since principles like these guided government and persuaded peoples."
Chronicling the intellectuals who tried to rectify this bleakness, Nash begins his history with two men: economists F.A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. Then he explains how these libertarian heroes kick-started the American conservative movement. Few actually used the word "conservatism" in 1945, a term that began to gain popularity when Russell Kirk's book The Conservative Mind was published in 1953 and with the founding of William F. Buckley's National Review in 1955. Nash notes that even Kirk was inspired by both Hayek and Mises, writing to a friend that these men represented a "great school of economists of a much sounder and different mind."
After Hayek and Mises, Nash then cites Albert Jay Nock, publisher of the unabashedly libertarian magazine The Freeman in the 1920s. Writes Nash: "Nock came to exert a significant amount of influence on the postwar Right," yet was so libertarian that "Nock verged on anarchism in his denunciations of the inherently aggrandizing State." Noting the impression Nock made on a young Buckley, Nash explained that "it was Nockian libertarianism, in fact, which exercised the first conservative influence on the future editor of National Review."
Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., president of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, says, "Nash's work is one of the very few books that must be read for a full understanding of the conservative movement in America." However, Feulner's Heritage Foundation advertises on Limbaugh's show, where the host is seemingly oblivious to the fact that the American conservative movement could not have existed without libertarianism. Furthermore, pundits like Rush often claim to be "Reagan conservatives." However, they seem to forget that in 1976 said Reagan, "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism." As you can see, advocating for "limited government" without employing some degree of libertarianism would be logistically impossible.
Which is exactly why so many of today's so-called conservatives are so quick to dismiss it. If there is an interloping ideology on the Right today, it is not libertarianism but neoconservatism, an ideology born not of limited government philosophy but of ex-socialists who migrated Right in reaction to the counterculture of the 1960s. Today, neoncons are devoted to promoting the maintenance and expansion of America's global empire.
Whereas traditional conservatives considered war and the massive bureaucracy necessary to wage it an occasional, necessary evil, neoconservatives consider perpetual war a good precisely because they believe it is America's mission to export democracy to the rest of the world.
Questioning the cost or wisdom of waging perpetual war is considered unconscionable or even "unpatriotic" to neoconservatives, which is why they are so dismissive of libertarians and others who question foreign policy. Most neoconservatives instinctively realize that their ideology is incompatible with the libertarian's pesky obsession with limited government, giving neocons reason to marginalize, or expel, any libertarian influence that threatens to expose the statist nature of today's mainstream conservative movement.
Considering their new, radical definition, it's easy to see why Rush and other mainstream conservatives don't consider libertarians part of their movement because they're not. And while it remains to be seen how the irreconcilable differences will play out between limited government libertarians (whose numbers are growing) and big government neoconservatives (whose ideology still dominates), let there be no more ignorance about which philosophy is truly more alien to the historical American conservative movement. And let there be no further delusions about which philosophy was most responsible for creating it.
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Ok they, what provision in the Constitution allows the drug laws? You sound like a lefty defending the Constitutionality of Obamacare.
rbmiilerjr... proud, ardent, and zealous supporter of societies laws...
...including health care, and if cap-n-trade passes, that too!
Please make a more coherent argument...I mean that is just silly.
I ll respond when I get back from my son’s baseball practice.
Obamacare is socialism.......I have my own insurance.
Oh, I see... “conservatives” don’t have to justify their favorite government programs constitutionally... only the liberals. Suddenly when someone asks where in the Constitution Congress is authorized to enact drug regulations, “conservatives” don’t care about the Constitution.
You can find any justification for violating the Constitution, and your motives may even be pure, but it’s still no excuse. You apparently love big government way to much to call yourself a conservative.
I’m beginnng to suspect that these so-called “conservatives” who love big government, are actually a liberal fifth column, here to undermine our unity.
Most of the discussions on liberty by John Stuart Mill center upon individual freedoms within a society such as you find in England at the time of his writing. The principle of negative liberty is often laid at his feet. I am not familiar with Mill’s position on international affairs. Burke would be worth studying on this issue since he was involved with the issues of colonization and war. He was opposed to the intervention of England in America, but he was not opposed to colonization or British force. I do not know enough about Burke to speak intelligently upon how he combined liberalism and colonization. Locke was the primary philosophical force behind Jefferson and others of that time. Locke was more about the social contract than anything else. I do not know what Locke’s views were on international relationships. My view is that Washington’s views on political affairs was based more upon commonsense and experience than upon a political philosophy. It seems to me that the issue with which we are debating is the relationship between Liberalism and international or global nexus. This is my question. Is the use of military force in international affairs contrary to Liberalism?
Yeah, we must not be conservative because we believe in strictly obiding by Constitutional restraints on government, opposition to the nanny state, and opposition to nation building hopskotch throughout the globe. Back in Barry Goldwater’s day they would call us conservatives but somehow these guys are now the “conservatives” lol
The Social Contract tells us that individuals have their natural rights and loan it to government. But government cannot have powers loaned to them that the people themselves do not have. (We can have police enforce laws against armed robbery, because I as an individual can protect my property and self against armed robbery so I can “loan” that power to my government... On the contrary, I cannot steal money from my neighbor to help a person in need as that is theft; therefore, I cannot “loan” that power to the government either... i.e. redistribution of wealth is still theft).
If we take that view of legitimate government powers must originate from the individuals that loan those powers to the government, then how can I justify a non-defensive use of force against another country? If I, as an individual, cannot attack my neighbor then I cannot authorize my country to attack another country. However, if my neighbor attacks me I can defend myself and if a nation attacks the United States we can defend ourselves.
Most libertarians do not oppose national defense. Ron Paul voted FOR the operations in Afghanistan for example. However, that doesn’t justify “nation building” in Afghanistan or pre-emptive war in Iraq through the lens of the Social Contract.
“Dope is against the law for good reason.”
Sure, but the law has done zero to keep people from getting dope.
I join the other posters who hate dopers and dope, but hate the “War on Drugs” just as much.
Here's a hint: It took an Amendment to wage a "War on Alcohol".
If you come back with "commerce clause" I swear to the Gods I will reach through the Internet and slap the stupid off of you.
If your neighbor threatened that he was going to rape and kill your wife and daughters, would you wait until he acted? We have a different understanding of the scope of a social contract. I do not agree that as an individual that I do not have the right of self-preservation that includes preemption. My social contract with the government is to act in my best interest, which would include preemptive actions. We no longer live in a world that allows us to be reactionary. The consequences of failure to act in a preemptive way is simply too grave. If you want to debate whether or nor a specific situation requires preemptive action, that is another matter.
And what is true of the leaders is even more true of the rank and file of the movement. The relative ease with which a young communist could be converted into a Nazi or vice versa was generally known in Germany, best of all to the propagandists of the two parties. Many a university teacher during the 1930's has seen English and American students return from the Continent uncertain whether they were communists or Nazis and certain only that they hated Western liberal civilization.
While to the Nazi the communist and to the communist the Nazi, and to both the socialist, are potential recruits made of the right timber, they both know that there can be no compromise between them and those who really believe in individual freedom.
- FA Hayek The Road to Serfdom
And that would be...what?
Let me know when you run across a Libertarian on this board who is a 'dopehead'.
Have another martini, LOL
Ron Paul did vote for that measure. However the resolution said nothing about 'building democracy' in Afghanistan.
Mission creep has started to turn that conflict into something that looks a hell of a lot like Vietnam.
Calm down Corpse, no need for that.
Simply point out that the Commerce clause has no effect on the present legality of alcohol. Any regulation at all of alcohol (by the states) required constitutional amendment. Namely, the same 21st Amendment that repealed Prohibition.
Idiots that argue the commerce clause have to explain why the 21st Amendment was written in the manner that it was.
“If you believe in freedom as a moral concept then then extending that liberty and freedom to others means that sometimes youre going to have to allow folks to do things you dont agree with. Allowing them to do it doesnt mean you support it, it just means you oppose controlling others. At the same time, society owes you the same respect and should not control you. Government intervention and control isnt okay simply because its intentions are something we agree with... government intervention and control is wrong whenever it extends beyond the purpose of keeping the peace.?
The words just needed to be repeated for quite a few folks on here (mainly thinking of the anti-smokers).
I agree, that’s why I said the resolution doesn’t justify “nation building” in Afghanistan.
That’s an accurate assessment of Bush but (much as I dislike his record) I wouldn’t call him a neocon.