Sunday, February 04, 2007

Modern American Conservative

You make statements such as "I support the president and everything he does" while simultanously characterizing your political opponents as favoring too much government. You sneer at the idea of giving handouts to secular institutions, immigrants and racial minorities while you simultanously encourage giving handouts to buisinesses, churches and agriculture. At the prospect of the government spying on its own citezens, you presume that your own innocence as an individual would stop government from abusing such powers. When people legally protest and express civil disobedience, your reaction is to call for the cops to smite them. You hold yourself up as a model of fiscal responsibility while rubber stamping large federal spending increases funded by borrowing and money supply increases (monetary inflation).

You think that those who question foreign intervention are "appeasers to the enemy". You sincerely believe that America faces the threat of being invaded and taken over by Muslim fanatics who want to force their way of life on us, so you decide that it is our moral obligation to invade them and take them over to force our way of life on them. You support the idea of using military force to speady democracy around the world, and simultanously you are enraged when democratic processes lead to questionable groups such as Hamas. You unquestioningly support the Israeli government and U.S. hegemony with it, and accuse anyone who doesn't of being an "isolationist" or "anti-semite". You think that men in green constumes shooting people half-way across the world is actually a defense of our freedom. You buy into the notion that sometimes we have to give up some of our freedom in order to protect our freedom.

You claim to support a strict construction of the constitution while argueing that the government has the legitimate authority to ignore sections of the constitution in the name of "law and order". You claim to stand for state's rights while supporting federal intervention with regaurd to abortion, sex, marriage, assisted suicide, drugs and religion. You think that America was founded as a Christian nation. You complain about political correctness in the media and larger culture while calling for bans and censorship on things that you do not like, and you believed Bill O'Rielly that there was a "War on Christmas". Your idea of a patriot is someone who unquestioningly supports executive authority when a Republican is in the White House. Ronald Reagan's "teflon charisma" made you squeal with extacy.You lecture people on the virtues of free enterprise while supporting extensive government contracting of buisiness, trade blockades with central/south American and Asian countries, subsidization of the farming industry, steel tariffs and "sin taxes". You complain about taxes while simultanously spending loads of tax dollars on guns and butter.

You seek to protect "traditional" institutions through the use of government force. In the attempt to preserve your "traditions", you have destroyed whatever value they may have originally had. You are a pessemist about the future and an unyielding optimist about the fleeting present moment. You are pessemist about the future because you think that either (1) we are doomed to a grim fate by the communist conspiracy or (2) we are doomed to a grim fate by the terrorist conspiracy or (3) we are doomed to a grim fate by the secular conspiracy. If you are a dispensationalist conservative, then you literally think that we are living in the end times. Since you assume that there is always a "conspiracy" of social change of some sort, this leads you to call for massive "wars" with such things in the present (even wars on inanimate objects such as terrorism, christmas, etc.), hence your short-term present-oriented optimism. When you are not declaring a war on something, you are holding yourself up as a victim of an imaginary war on yourself. You adopt an apriori assumption that social change is impossible, while simultanously calling for rigid reactionary resistance when social changes do occur in society. You think that anyone who disagrees with you must be either (1) a liberal or (2) a communist. You should have listened to the warnings of Murray Rothbard.

You are a modern American conservative. In your head, you imagine yourself to be a principled proponent of individual liberty, free market capitalism and meaningfully decentralized and limited government. You might even imagine yourself to be a Jeffersonian Republican in the classical meaning of the term. In actual fact, you are far from it. Even assuming that you started with those premises and principles, it would be quite apparent that you sacrificed them in the short-term attempt to save us from a bunch of boogeymen, both real and imagined (but mostly imagined). In the WWI era, the boogeymen was any non-democratic government. In the prohibition era, the boogeymen were the drinkers and speakeasy folk. In the cold war era, the boogeymen were the communists and hippies. Towards the end of this era, the boogeymen shifted to the terrorists and seculars. The boogeymen of immigrants has been ever-present, changing from the Irish to the Italians to the Mexicans. But this is only the beginning of your historical list of boogeymen.

The model of modern American conservatism (and modern American government in general, for that matter) is, in a sense, the exact inverse of the classical "liberal republican" model. It is the "conservative democrat" model in the classical sense of the term. A classical liberal republican supports a limited and decentralized republic and is naturally inclined towards opposing the old ruling classes. A conservative democrat supports a centralized democracy that cements the old ruling classes into power. This model is a democracy (which can be dictatorial in nature) that panders to people's socially conservative impulses and creates the effect of an imposed heirarchy. The model of the Jeffersonian liberal republican is practically the polar opposite of this. When one uses the original meanings of the terms, it becomes apparent that there is no republican party at all in the modern United states. There are two democratic ones run by a slightly different set of special interests. The idea that conservatives or the republican party are the more restrained of these two groups in terms of how much government interferance they will tolerate is simply an illusion.

1 comment:

kblair7 said...

Yes, that is one of the many troubles