It would be a mistake to read too much into Senator Paul's triumph at this stage. Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsay Graham went way too far in denouncing him. But the jury is out as to how Senator Paul will perform on the world stage. The libertarian worldview flirts a little too closely with isolationism, for my money. But Senator Paul has plenty of room to grow there, and he made a very successful trip to Israel that indicates he wants to grow and maintains an open mind.
And some news from CPAC:
The latter featured Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, apparently a foreign policy expert in the CPAC universe, who told the crowd “we can remove Iran as a threat if we commit to a policy of regime change, by peaceful transition if possible, and by military removal if necessary.”
Our ability to do so, he contended, was a matter of American resolve, which is apparently in question because of Senator Paul’s filibuster. “The filibuster was a brave and heroic gesture of opposition. It proved that at least one leader–a Tea Party leader–was prepared to stand up for the Constitution and for the principle that individual liberty precedes government power. But Senator Paul was wrong about one thing: it is not as easy to distinguish between combatants and noncombatants as he suggested.”
He continued: “A foreign terrorist on foreign soil does not stop being a terrorist simply because he or she is far from the battlefield. If we accept the hypothetical example that he used, that a terrorist at a cafe is never a legitimate target, then we cannot protect ourselves from terror. In our zeal to roll back government power we will have placed our liberty in danger. Similarly, in embracing the sequester, we cannot accept defense cuts that may prove more costly over time by putting our security at risk. We must replace those cuts with other cuts.”
The reason I do not identify with conservatives, and the reason I hold modern conservative thought—and I use that word quite loosely—in such contempt is because conservatism is as statist, and ultimately as bankrupting as progressivism. We simply cannot afford to spend $700 billion per year on our military; it will bankrupt us. The 2012 budget was nearly $3.8 trillion dollars, and 35% of the budget was funded by debt (and a good portion of that debt was basically inflation, which is to say imaginary money). Over 19% of the budget was dedicated to national defense. While completely eliminating all defense spending will not balance the budget, it is clear that wasteful “defense” spending is contributing significantly to the budget problem.
Conservatives are hell-bent on continuing military spending and micro-managing the rest of the world to suit the government’s imperialistic goals. When Rand Paul dared to question even the smallest point of the continued war on terror, a good number of his fellow party members basically backed the president (who is a member of the opposition!), and then had the unmitigated gall to call for increasing America’s imperialistic, meddling, busybody foreign policy as if the federal government can continue to afford more prolonged, protracted wars.
The conservative approach to national defense is stupid, inane, vapid, illogical, and will bankrupt the country. While it is true that America needs some sort of national defense, it is not only foolish, but incredibly ignorant to think that national defense should consist of a sort of soft imperialism that needlessly requires the death of American youths and trillions of dollar in federal debt, not to mention the requisite higher taxes that increased spending generally entails. And all we have to show for this intervention is the death of thousands of US citizens, shot down in the prime of their lives, increased danger for Americans travelling abroad, and increased foreign resentment for the United States of America. America is not materially safer as a result, and in fact appears to be at a greater risk of retribution at the hands of foreign terror groups. Not only that, the increased risk has led the federal government to strip citizens of their liberties. And this is what conservatives are fighting to continue.
Since it is clear that conservatives are just as supportive of wasteful spending as progressives, and since it is clear that conservatives hate liberty as much as progressives, I think that it is safe to say that conservative politics needs to die off. It is of absolutely no value to anyone, save those who profit from the military-industrial complex. It is extremely costly and profoundly anti-liberty for everyone else.