29 May 2011

The Sad State of Neo-Conservatism

Jonah Goldberg’s petty sniping is getting ridiculous.  First there’s this:

The Republican presidential logjam has finally broken.
Donald Trump, who believes not only that he would make the best president but that he could win, declined to run because making money is his true "passion." It's as if Cincinnatus loved his plow too much.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also bowed out, with class and dignity even his friend Trump could not buy.
Ron Paul, the libertarian Harold Stassen, is in for another go, presumably on the mistaken assumption that America has turned into Tea Party Nation. (If only!)

Then there’s this:
Oh, the "tea parties" will have plenty of candidates. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, the founder and head of the House Tea Party Caucus, will almost surely run and do quite well. Herman Cain, the black former business executive, remains a tea party rock star. On the more libertarian side, there's Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. If those two have their way, the dollar will not only be backed by gold, it will be printed on paper made from hemp.

I do not understand why neo-cons have such a hard time coming to grips with Ron Paul.  He is pro-life, believes in limited government and the constitution (and appears to be the only politician to have actually read it), and is gung-ho about cutting spending.  Yet, for some reason, neo-cons like Goldberg are all caught up on his goldbuggery and “pro-drugs” stance.

Furthermore, these clowns do not seem to realize that Ron Paul is the most viable candidate they have.  He polls well against not only all the other Republican candidates, but against Obama as well.

In addition, he is one of the few politicians with a coherent and consistent political philosophy.  The reason why Ron Paul is sold on the gold standard (or, more accurately, market-based currency) is because he has recognized that the government monopoly on money is the fundamental reason why the government is able to spend so much.  The whole reason why the government has turned into such an unbreakable behemoth is because only the government controls the money.  If you break the government of this ability, you break it of all other abilities.

Incidentally, the reason why all budget reform efforts are doomed to fail is because the government still controls the money.  It can lend itself money if it wants to, and it can basically hold the American people hostage as well.  Apparently Goldberg and his ilk are incapable of recognizing this, and so they mock Ron Paul.  Eyes that can’t see and all that.

And in regards to drugs, let me make two simple observations.  First, no matter how hard the government tries, there will always be drug users.  Deal with it.  Second, even if the government could eliminate drug use, doing so will require the government to utterly trample individual rights.  Is that what neo-cons really want?  Because once one group’s rights disappear, there’s no reason your rights can’t disappear as well.

The ultimate irony of Goldberg’s petty sniping is that it is self-defeating, in the sense that Ron Paul’s policies would do more to promote social conservatism than any neo-con politician’s ever would.  But that’s mostly because neo-con politicians have no spine.


  1. Goldberg is a smart-ass first and second and a political writer third. He has his moments, but mostly he just seems to enjoy ribbing people. As to your more serious point, I think it's impossible for most denizens of major media to not get swallowed by "electability" arguments. Everything gets colored through those lenses and Mitt Romney ends up getting backing from ostensible conservatives. Still not a good thing, but I think it's more a product of media culture and believing one's own bullshit than serious policy differences.

    NB: With regard to Paul, I get caught up in some electability arguments myself. I don't believe the polls. He's not a president that fits with the current cult of the presidency culture we have. He's going to say speak some truths in blunt ways that is going to turn off a lot of the electorate. I'd love to be wrong about that, but I've talked to swing voters. By and large, they do not vote for substantive reasons. They vote on emotions and I fear that Paul would trigger negative emotions if he was truly center stage for an extended period of time.


  2. NeoCons = Conservatism minus Christian God.

  3. @ulysses- the biggest issue with electability arguments is that they are all essentially projection. We simply do not know how electable a politician is until after the election is over. Polls can can give some indication of electability, but variables affecting voters' decisions change on a daily basis, which is why projection is such a major part of political analysis.

    @SP- ain't that the truth.

  4. Good points, Simon. Even though I didn't say so in my original comment, I do concede my electability arguments are just as couched in emotion as the swing voters I derided. I do like Paul, I'm just more dispassionate about him than most seem to be. Of course, you don't seem to be a Paulite, so I can't claim that all but me are either fiercely drawn or repelled by him.

  5. I have a lot of respect for Ron Paul, but I don't vote so my respect is rendered moot. My thought is that it would be easy for the media to paint him as a loony, although most swing voters would probably view Obama as a complete failure. I would theorize that if the economy is still tanked by the time the election rolls around, the death of Osama will be politically meaningless. Of course, the so-called independents are hard to predict, even on election day. At this point, though Paul seems to be the most electable, mostly because the media won't have a difficult time painting any of the current favorites as either stupid or crazy.