“The Myth of Conservative Patriotism”

Posted in its entirety, from Christian Newman at LewRockwell.com. A tough read if you’re a modern “Conservative” and actually have an open mind. It does an admirable job at illustrating the political correctness of the modern Right, and well as framing the various means by which the Right seeks a status of victimhood every bit as much as does the snowflakes on the Left.

The word “patriot” holds a special place in the heart of America, and the attachment to that word, in particular, runs deep into the roots of the United States’ history to its founding. While the word has taken on a meaning of national pride and attachment to one’s homeland, the American usage of the term brings with it a certain kind of pride that goes back to the American revolution. For it was the Patriots who ultimately loved their homeland, who stood for local and (in most cases) limited self-government, and grew to hate the established and increasingly obnoxious and interventionist Imperial British regime.

In contrast, modern “conservatives” and right wingers also lay a claim to the word “patriot,” and on the surface, it seems like the shoe fits. After all, it is the loud and proud American right that stands up for such time-honored American traditions like standing for the national anthem, keeping “under god” in the pledge of allegiance, proudly displaying their “thin blue line” bumper stickers (sometimes ironically and paradoxically next to the Gadsden flag), and honoring the veterans of America’s wars abroad. It’s nearly easier to start a “USA! The USA!” chant at a sporting event than a wave. After all, since July 4th is a revered holiday, surely there couldn’t possibly be a contradiction in rhetoric and reality?

Yet upon closer examination, it seems the rank-and-file right-wing is rather picky and choosy about exactly what American patriotism means. They proudly give lip-service and reverence to the founding of the country, to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, but their actions speak otherwise. Modern conservatism seems to have severed its relation to the Patriotism of America’s birth and instead has embraced a nationalist, collectivist strain of statist pride dating back to the Progressive Era and bolstered by two “victories” in the World Wars. Today, the right wing with their almost religious and spiritual devotion to support for military servicemen, will proclaim their devotion to swift justice and an active foreign policy to fight for “freedom” abroad, to topple dictators, and to defend our vital allies and friends around the world from boogeymen that never seem to go away.

The parallels are eerily similar to the glory days of the British Empire, where British dominance on the field of battle or in the sporting arena was a testament to its greatness, as if the random Midwestern American conservative had any hand at all in Michael Phelp’s amazing Olympic achievements. Enemies of America’s foreign policy today are dehumanized right-winging news outlets, Assad and Gaddafi were brutal dictators committing human rights violations, and Palestinians are bloodthirsty monsters who launch rockets unprovoked into poor, defenseless Israel.  The evangelical conservative (who has far more in common with Puritan Progressives than the Patriotic Classical Liberals of Jefferson’s era) faithfully does not question the American-Israeli alliance. They’re all alone in the region, after all, and if there’s anything apple-pie Americans love, it’s an underdog story. Unfortunately, the backing of the awesome military might conservatives love to flaunt about (ex: the idea of singlehandedly saving Europe during WWII) of the United States hardly makes Israel an underdog in any sense of the word, much less from the right’s own perspective. Nevertheless! Any good American supports the noble colonies (correction: allies) around the globe.

The military industrial complex easily harvests the military devotion of the right. It openly boasts in their television recruitment ads of the number of ships they have deployed globally, and luring America’s youth into the servitude of the political class by offering numerous “opportunities” anywhere in the world. The expansive and intimidating reach of the American empire exerts far more influence today than the British ever did. To the new recruits and their families, they are performing an honorable service defending American freedom, which somehow waddled its way halfway around the world, and now must be retrieved by refueling Saudi jets that coldly and often bomb civilians in Yemen in their own local crusades. Conservatives are proud of spreading the American doctrine and making the world safe for democracy in a way that would put a smile on accomplished Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s face. It doesn’t matter to them that now their boys and girls in uniform have been used to train the same bin-Ladenite jihadis that shot at (and in some regions, are still shooting at) their brothers a decade previously. What matters is “getting the bad guys,” and defending America’s colonies from whichever dictator or radical guerilla organization is a foe today, and forgotten ally yesterday. What matters is a return to World War dominance, victory for victory’s sake, and civilizing a barbaric foreign foe. Not even pretending to abide by “conservative” principles of fiscal responsibility is enough to reign in the leviathan and gluttonous size of the supposedly “dismantled” Pentagon (that still seems to procure massive budgets despite its misplacement of $6.5 trillion).

Combined with the right’s reverence for the international might of the American state is a desire to “civilize” his or her own neighbors. Whether it be a prohibition of drugs (mother knows best, after all), or a desire to teach the conservative’s backwards and ignorant countrymen that the rule of law must be followed, and that our police must always be respected, we must all move into a civilized age of practices approved by their own code of ethics. After all, the police are just trying to protect and serve the living daylights out of you, because smoking pot might be a gateway drug. The statutory law, the collectivist will divinely inspired as “one nation under God,” has become the new ten commandments. Conservatives no longer wish to conserve such long-dead traditions of individual liberty and federalism, they wish to uphold the tradition of an all-powerful state to actively assert itself on the side of “good.” The propaganda of the lurking and seemingly imminent threat of religious terrorism is enough for conservatives to give up their fourth amendment rights to a warrant and thank the omnipotent NSA for keeping them safe through their civilian surveillance program that has stopped a whopping zero terrorist attacks. The Patriot Act, as it was so Orwellian named, has become the new Quartering Act with the Central Government able to enter anyone’s home on a whim of presumed guilt by association. After all, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, correct?

Modern conservatives have shown not a love for country, a love and respect for the liberties and freedoms of their neighbors and people who live alongside them, but they have shown a love for the state and the American empire. They’ve shown a love for activist government, for taxation above and beyond what their supposed heroes dumped tea into a harbor for. They’ve welcomed the red-coats into their homes through warrantless searches, and they worship the red, white, and blue calf that the Bible warned them against. Through their action, they’ve shown time and again that rather than freedom and liberty, they love empire, the divine right of ‘Murica, and a heavily armed police state with a nanny complex. They have their own form of PC, and one must not dare question friendship with Israel or point out the futility and moral atrocity of America’s own military interventions. Yet how ridiculous it would have been for Benjamin Franklin to lecture Patrick Henry to keep to himself his disdain for the British troops- after all, some of them died fighting during the French-Indian war, and criticism is disrespectful. It’s time for the American right to dump the word “patriot.” Freedom, liberty, and a love for their fellow countrymen now plays second fiddle, if in the orchestra at all. They’ve shown time and again that they’re nothing less than invasive government-loving, expensive (in terms of lives and money) empire building, collectivist Tories.

Where have all the Hippies gone?

The radical liberal of yesteryear, eschewing government control of their bodies and their lives….preaching free love, natural living and self-determination and self-sufficiency….is extinct. In their place, the left has become a mass of Stalinist sycophants who pursue the criminalization of any action or thought, not approved by the State. 

Think I’m wrong? On what side of the political spectrum exists the opponents of self-defense, home schooling and natural foods? On what side of the political spectrum exists the [by and large] the pursuit of ever encroaching State regulation….the scope and reach of government into every facet of our lives. From town codes, to state surveillance to unpasteurized milk to growing or hunting one’s own sustenance….todays Liberal [rebranded as “progressive”] is the consummate Statist.

Apparently, I’ve become the dirty hippie I used to mock.

Spoiler Alert?

“When you give [Democrats and Republicans] your vote, you’re telling them ‘Go ahead, keep on doing what you’re doing,'” explains Libertarian National Committee Vice Chair Arvin Vohra. “And when you vote for the Libertarian candidate you are telling them, in no uncertain terms, ‘You do not have either my approval or my permission to grow or sustain big government: shrink it now.'”


As the midterm elections approach, Democrats and Republicans are making their final pleas to win over undecided voters, with some casting Libertarian candidates as “spoilers” in a few key races. But Vorha, himself running as a Libertarian for Maryland’s 4th congressional district against Democratic incumbent Donna Edwards, dismisses the charge. Despite his low poll numbers, Vohra sees the act of casting a vote for the Libertarian Party as a pathway to reform. He quotes a former Libertarian candidate: “Not all politicians are smart, but they can all count.”

Link

It’s a common refrain from the GOP, when having lost an election to the Democrat candidate, is anything but the ineffectiveness of the GOP campaign, candidate or position on the issues. When a Libertarian candidate is running, that candidate becomes the de facto scapegoat. But there’s a few major problems with this tautology.

Libertarians are not Republicans. As such, the GOP has no claim of ownership over any Libertarian votes. Libertarian candidates are also not, as the two major parties and there media enablers would have you believe, “undecided voters” or “independents”. Why the American people put up with the concerted effort by the establishment to shoehorn voters into a narrow ideological box with a paper divider….is beyond me. Both major parties exist to grow the size and scope of government and their party power [but I repeat myself].

Finally, if the GOP can’t motivate it’s base to come out and vote, why do they seek blame elsewhere? If the percentage of registered GOP voters who stay home next week is more than the percentage of Libertarian voters who cast a ballot….there’s your problem.

Ann Coulter and the Rovian elite don’t much like Libertarians…..

Except when they want to use their votes like a cheap hooker.

The biggest current danger for Republicans is that idiots will vote for Libertarian candidates in do-or-die Senate elections, including Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina and Colorado. (That’s in addition to the “Independent” in Kansas who’s a Democrat.) Democratic candidates don’t have to put up with this crap — they’re even trying to dump the official Democrat in Kansas to give the stealth Democrat a better shot. 

When we’re all dying from lack of health care across the United States of Mexico, we’ll be deeply impressed with your integrity, libertarians. 

Which brings me to my final assignment this week: If you are considering voting for the Libertarian candidate in any Senate election, please send me your name and address so I can track you down and drown you. 

Lair of the Harpy 

Well, Ann……”bring it on”. Should I send you my address? You’ll get your skinny ass capped.

The current meme from the GOP is: C’mon….vote GOP, we’ll sort out all of these divisive issues later. This upcoming election is yet another notch in the “most important election of our lifetime!!!! cycle. It’s amazing how each successive election is even more important than the last…yet they still don’t support making Election Day a holiday, to bring out more voters.

Dear Ann and her party elite never seem to realize that Libertarians aren’t merely disaffected Republicans. They are not a subset of the GOP. Some are to be sure, but not those who identify with the Libertarianism writ large. Libertarians have watched with interest, how the party elite trashed and sabotaged the tea party movement within it’s ranks. And Libertarians are cognizant that the GOP wants only what the Democratic Party wants…gaining and/or maintaining party power.

The GOP doesn’t want Libertarian ideals, they juts want Libertarian votes. They are a political party wedded to the increasing growth of the scope of government; as has been proven during every GOP Administration. Libertarian swag and rhetoric is the camouflage the GOP dons when they get called to the carpet for not governing in accordance with their campaign pledges.

Such is their folly, when their perfidy loses elections. They blame third parties, because they can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that they cannot even mobilize their own ranks or registered voters.

Such is the folly of a Libertarian who gets conned by the snake-oil salesmen. Change will never occur if we continuously – and willfully – box ourselves into the narrow game, run by the party elites and the media.

Letting the GOP use you like a cheap hooker, will only give you shame and an STD.

A Case for Libertarianism

A WaTimes OpEd from last month, that I just stumbled across, making a very cogent case for the ideology I subscribe to. Excerpts below.

Misleading or one-sided characterizations notwithstanding, libertarianism is precisely the “third way” that many Americans desire. 

Libertarianism is not the claim that individuals are always rational, or that markets are always efficient, or that the distribution of income under laissez-faire capitalism is always “fair.” Rather, it is the claim that, despite the imperfections of private arrangements, government interventions usually make things worse. Thus, non-intervention is the better policy. 

A crucial feature of libertarianism is consistency: It applies a skeptical lens to all aspects of government, whether economic, social or foreign. In every case, libertarianism asks calmly but rigorously whether intervention actually yields better outcomes, regardless of whether that implies a “conservative” or “liberal” policy conclusion. Libertarianism sticks to its principles. 

This consistency does not, by itself, make libertarianism “right,” but it shows libertarianism’s unique perspective on government. Libertarianism holds that government causes many current problems, so more government is unlikely to reduce these problems. The best approach is to remove the existing government that causes or exacerbates the problem in the first place.

"Anti Gun Hypocrites"

Reposting this blog entry in it’s entirety, from the excellent Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest:

In the whole freedom/ gun rights discussion there are many groups. There is a whole spectrum of gun owners with varying beliefs as well as some folks who are genuinely anti gun. Then there are elites who either by political position or wealth have access to all manner of things us common folks do not. These privileges include cash and connections (arguably the same thing) to hire private security who can jump through hoops for places like NYC or even foreign countries.

I disagree with but can respect the anti gun folks who do not own or want to own guns. They have a belief which is part of their life and ‘practice what they preach’. Personally I do not think their beliefs are based on reality however that is not my problem. They make the choice and have to live with the consequences after all this is ‘Merica. These folks do not worry me anyway, push comes to shove I am armed and they are not.

The people who irritate me are the elites who have excellent ARMED security but wish to usurp my rights to protect myself. The elite’s seem to believe that common people like us should not be allowed modern tools for self protection. The rich get well armed security but common folks can ‘dial (911) and die’. Look, if I had all the money in the world I would hire private security. Like really, really good private security. Wifey and the kiddo’s would go to the park to play in a pair of up armored SUV’s with a fire team of ex JSOC Jedi’s. However regrettably our budget will not support that so protecting our family falls to Wifey and I.

While a privileged status should have many advantages basic human rights are not one of them.

Slow clap…..well said!

Spoiler or Spoiled?

We in Virginia are finally free of the erroneous and obnoxious ads from the Cuccinelli and McAuliffe campaigns. The ‘Cooch’ lost by a much smaller margin than most polls had predicted, but he lost nonetheless…and to a rather smarmy and schlocky McAuliffe.

But, predictably, the Virginia GOP supporters have turned their ire on those who voted for Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who garned a Virginia record high 6.6% [or so] in his third party bid for the Governors job. Unfortunately, this is short of the hoped for 10% which would have given the LP automatic ballot access in the next general election, much to the chagrin of the duopoly.

The GOP meme is that Sarvis voters enabled McAulliffe to win. This is a false argument. To believe this line of thought, one’s logic has to be provably predicated on the assumption that those voting for Sarvis would have otherwise been more likely to vote for Cuccinelli, had Sarvis not been in the race. Exit polling says otherwise:

And no, Cuccinelli can’t blame his loss on scandal-plagued outgoing GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell or third-party libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis.

Despite his scandals, Virginia voters said they approve of McDonnell’s job performance by 11 points, 52% to 41%. And if Sarvis had not been in the race, exit polls indicate McAuliffe still would have beaten Cuccinelli by two points, 48% to 46%.

And:

Finally, while it didn’t change the outcome, the third-party candidate in the race, Libertarian Robert Sarvis, may have made it closer for McAuliffe than it would have been otherwise. Had he not been on the ballot, a third of his voters said they’d have supported McAuliffe – slightly more than twice as many as said they’d have gone for Cuccinelli.

Additionally this tired line of excuses presumes that votes are proprietary to the Democrats or the GOP in the first place, which is rather elitist and presumptive reasoning. Republicans should be asking themselves and their party, why didn’t more registered Republicans show up to the polls? Why didn’t more doners give to the Cuccinelli campaign?

Scott Shackford at Reason sums it up nicely:


Once you wade out of the red team versus blue team fight, you have to set aside the mentality that comes with it. Too many folks were still making the argument that Cuccinelli was better than McAuliffe when they needed to be making the argument that Cuccinelli was better than Sarvis.


A wasted vote, is a vote for someone you don’t believe in

So if you vote and think your vote should express your political beliefs, there’s nowhere else for libertarians (and Libertarians) to look.

But of course, Gary Johnson is not going to win the election. Indeed, if past is prologue, he will likely finish with less than 1 percent of all votes cast. So the real case for Gary Johnson – a tougher case to make – is arguing for why you should think about pulling the lever, tapping the screen, or punching the butterfly ballot for the guy knowing that he’s a bigger lost cause than the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, the Gilmore Girls movie getting made, and the release of Dr. Dre’s Detox put together.

As it happens, Johnson has addressed this very question in his forthright manner. “A wasted vote,” he says, “is a vote for someone you don’t believe in.” He’s even exhorting people to “waste” their vote, telling an audience at New York University, “We can make a difference in this election. Waste your vote!”

The Republicans will move in a libertarian direction when they finally realize that the libertarian ethos of live and let live doesn’t represent moral nihilism but a goddamned sustainable future in a globalized, post-mainstream world. Who do you want sitting next to you as Spaceship Earth hurtles through time: Todd Akin or Gary Johnson? The Republicans have failed to wrap their heads around the unmitigated disaster that the Bush presidency was. Forget social issues for the moment. George W. Bush – in total cahoots with a Congress led by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, who still roam the corridors of power like Tor Johnson roamed the set of Plan 9 From Outer Space – kicked out the jams on spending and cronyism. He was a big-government disaster, the political equivalent of Hurricane Sandy. And he did what he did with the full aid and succour of a GOP majority that signed on for The Patriot Act, Medicare Part D, the invasion of Iraq, the creation of the TSA, and TARP. The fully unconvincing and meager attempts by Mitt Romney to say he’s going to rein in spending while “preserving” and “strengthening” Medicare and Social Security and ramping up military spending to a perpetual 4 percent of GDP flatly demonstrate that the Republicans have yet to get the simple message that voters first delivered during the 2006 midterms.

For their part, the Democrats have yet to learn the lesson of 2010, when voters sent exactly the same midterm message: Don’t just do something, stand there! In 2010, the party of Thomas Jefferson took a “shellacking” (Obama’s term of art) not despite all of the president’s highly touted “historic” successes but precisely because of them. Obamacare, stimulus, more bailouts up the ying-yang, stupid interventions everywhere from Detroit to Afghanistan to college football’s ranking system – all helped spark a strong and obvious reaction among large swaths of voters. And yet, Obama and Team Blue haven’t changed a goddamned jot or tittle in their basic script. If you don’t vote for the (liberal) Democrat, this line goes, then mere anarchy will be loosed. All that is decent and civilized about America will forever be destroyed and we will be bombing indiscriminate countries into the Stone Age, women will go barefoot and be forcibly impregnated and shoved back into the kitchen and Paul Lynde will once again be closeted in the center square. The skies will once again be filled with the choking fumes of plutocrats lighting cigars with $1,000 bills featuring the image of Ayn Rand and power plants will once again exclusively be powered by grinding the bones of the poor, the tired, and non-unionized illegal immigrants. It will be the Hunger Games, but without the laughs. The important thing, the Democrats say without blinking, is that government spending can never, ever decline because it’s all essential spending and we’ll pay for it merely by asking the super-rich to pay just a little bit more. It’s like South Park’s Gnomes Underpants Profit Plan, only slightly less detailed.

Reason