Old Right can expose the buffoons
So this is what modern conservatism has boiled down to: an ideology of warmongering and big-government sycophancy, garnished with an invincible ignorance that sheds all facts. These traits are the opposite of what conservatism-a once defensible, ...
So this is what modern conservatism has boiled down to: an ideology of warmongering and big-government sycophancy, garnished with an invincible ignorance that sheds all facts. These traits are the opposite of what conservatism-a once defensible, even noble set of beliefs - used to be. If all it took to overthrow this system was a single attack on America and an intellectually deficient president, then maybe the critics were right all along. For those who cut their teeth on old-time conservatism, the modern version is like finding out after many years that all of their relatives are hillbilly cannibals.
Conservatives should have spoken truth to power. They should have acted as a brake on gargantuan government and foreign adventures. Instead we get radio talk show host and warmonger extraordinaire Laura Ingraham profusely praising Ilario Pantano as a "hero." 2nd Lt. Pantano, recall, was recently acquitted of murder charges for killing two unarmed Iraqis. Pass for now on whether the killings were justified. The point is that there's nothing heroic about pouring 50 rounds of ammo into two unarmed prisoners. There's also nothing heroic about being so witless that you think Iraq was behind 9/11, as Pantano did (and apparently still does). It's enough for Ingraham to fantasize of a thoroughly militarized America and worship at the altar of Mars.
We get Republicans who incessantly yap about "cut-and-run" Democrats. I won't defend the Democrats. They've started just about every war we've had the last 100 years and couldn't praise themselves enough for President Bill Clinton's entirely unjustified warmongering in Kosovo. But if withdrawing from idiotic wars we had no business being in to begin with is cutting and running, then who would know more about it than Republicans? There's the Korean War under Dwight Eisenhower, Vietnam under Richard Nixon, Lebanon under Ronald Reagan and the first Gulf war under the first George Bush.
Or we get the unforgivable knavery of Republicans who, to keep their simple-minded peasantry stirred up, claim that derelict, scattered remnants of Saddam's WMD stock from the 1980s justify the evil our war in Iraq has caused. However, the White House, CIA and Pentagon all dismiss these WMD shells as the reason for our war.
But why should our modern feckless flag-wavers and robopats let reality intrude on their fantasies of an America dealing death and destruction across the globe for the globe's own good? The Constitution's restrictions on the federal government be damned; are we not the chosen?
The list of modern conservatism's buffooneries goes on and on. For example, the recent New York Times article about Big Brother's spying on international money transfers is only a refresher of information that was already in the public domain, contrary to the right-wing bootlickers.
But there is an old conservatism yet, weak and flickering. It still stands with Washington and Jefferson on neutrality and government size. It rejects the inchoate proto-fascist tilt of much of the modern American public that feels that, like a king, our president should have complete power to do as he pleases in the name of security, that he need not be hindered in any way by legislators or judges, and that we and our privacy exist only at the sufferance of the executive branch.
I hark back to the real conservatives of old: Garet Garrett, Robert Taft, Frank Chodorov and others. With the Old Right, I'll take my stand.
Nelson is a Fargo postal worker and regular contributor to The Forum's commentary pages. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org