Neo-conservative betrayal and cowardice
Recently I was reading an article by Bill Tatro at Townhall.com. The article argues that Paul Ryan should be forgiven his initial support of the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was the first round of bailouts signed by President Bush. This was tantamount to the last straw among many conservatives, who then dismissed Bush as a progressive and traitor. They were right, but they only knew half the problem.
Neo-conservative, or neo-cons (frequently synonymous now with just plain “conservative,” or “the right”) are essentially progressives who are slightly more conservative than the left, sometimes on “social” issues, sometimes on “fiscal” issues (a false dichotomy, by the way). As simple as I can put it neo-cons are what liberals were in the 1960s or so. The only true conservatives left, paleo-conservatives, or classical liberals, support either Ron Paul or Virgil Goode (the Constitution Party candidate.
The neo-cons are now coming out in force to defend what only two years ago they had called indefensible, the support of TARP. Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan supported it, as well as Romney, and most RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).
Why is the neo-con base now defending Ryan? Well, for one, it’s because they are a bunch of brainwashed drones who don’t understand that even the best politicians are not out to help them. Obviously that’s not all.
Secondly, and more importantly, it is because neo-conservatives accept the left-wing progressive arguments that government can, and should, interfere in the market for its betterment. They will feign dissatisfaction with government, and quoting from the quotable Reagan say, “government is the problem, not the answer.” But they don’t really believe this, otherwise why would they support programs that privatize profits and socialize risk—this is what is known as a moral hazard in economics.
Milton Friedman, a “freer”-market economist than most during his day, argued in his book, A Monetary History of the United States, that the reason the panic of 1928 turned into the Great Depression was because the Federal Reserve didn’t liquidate enough of the money supply. This is essentially to say that John Maynard Keynes was right, but simply took his thought to far. Murray Rothbard, in one of his many essays, points this out, saying that Friedman had essentially admitted socialism was right, but it was preferable to have less socialism than the left wanted. Rothbard in his Economic History of the U.S., and in espousing the Austrian Business cycle (a summary of which is: the market is free, government creates fiat money which liquidates the money supply and allows for an undue number makes for bad investment, the market crashes, the market reemerges from rubble without government help, or is hindered by government help, the cycle repeats), states that it was because of the Federal Reserve’s suppression of the interest rates in the 1910’s and 20’s that a debt bubble was created. A more recent example, as anyone familiar with the 90’s dot-bomb bubble can tell you, was Greenspan’s lowering of the interest rates, and the sub-prime mortgage laws that created the current crisis.
In the article I mention at the beginning, Bill Tatro uses Friedman’s logic, and the common, but false, belief that markets may be saved by central bank interest rate manipulation and money supply liquidation to defend Paul Ryan for his decision. Tatro states that many neo-conservative and Keynesian liberals alike believed the banking world would utterly crash without TARP, so Ryan would have been foolish not to sign.
So you see quickly that while neo-cons state they dislike government they never stick to that conviction, still viewing government as the savior of their (economic) sins.
Thirdly, neo-cons don’t understand yet that TARP, the Quantitative Easings, and the other bailouts are the exact same actions taken by Hoover and FDR, which actually extended the great depression to two decades. Previous economics recessions and depressions (called panics) were over in only a few years at worst. A really good example of how these markets repair bankrupt enterprises relatively quickly is to ask yourself what happened to all those empty Blockbuster buildings that went out of business in the last six months. Are they not all rented to new companies? Blockbuster was not bailed out, and yet, life goes on.
Neo-cons should have read Murray Rothbard, but they are afraid of Rothbard’s implications because they worship America, and its place as a god-state. The left does this too, and has done so since Rousseau (heck, since Hobbes). The left, however, doesn’t pretend to have Christian social ethics, so they are not bound by deference to abortion, homosexuality, and other travesties of morality. In that respect, and only in that respect, Republicans, neo-cons, and most conservative leaning people, are marginally different than the left. (I state that with a huge grain of salt, mostly because since the “right” has accepted the left’s argumentation on government and society, they are only 30-60 years behind on social issues. They have not taken a principled stand, and will eventually come to the left’s position, while the left progresses onward. I cannot address that here.)
Those from the hippie’s generation are now shocked by the social revolution they helped usher in, and many are now returning to the church in their golden years while still hypocritically taking a social security check. My friend, Mickey McDaniel, likes to point out that even the conservatives are liberal compared to ages past because the history of the modernism movement in the 1920s-1930s; that time saw an apostasy by bible-believing churches, and their children (WWII) who had children in the 1940s-1960s (baby-boomers) have continued that apostasy into culture. We are experiencing now the Christian apostasy and acceptance of Existentialism from Eighty years ago.
So what separates neo-cons, like Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity, and most Republicans, from the left, if they accept that government can and should have a stake in the economy? As I state just above, the neo-cons have waning, but still present, cultural connection to biblical ethics. They don’t accept biblical ethics in full, but they accept parts. Most of those parts are the things that they perceive as benefitting them, such as property rights, abortion, reward comparable to work, and a rejection of theft (at least from them). Many on the right do use their time and skills better than the left (or at least left voting), and are a more entrepreneurial class. Despite this thinning strand of rope to biblical ethics the “right” has accepted the social arguments of the left, that morals are relative, which is why they selectively enforce biblical morality.
To prove this I will point out two examples of selective biblical ethics. Rush Limbaugh, “conservative” radio talk show host, and Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and Presidential candidate. Both these men have been married multiple times, and divorced just as many. Gingrich has sold his opinion many times to the highest bidder, as well as his principles. Gingrich and Limbaugh, who are wealthy, rightly oppose government theft in the form of welfare, but not because they don’t believe in stealing money from some to give to others, or accepted money stolen themselves (I’m thinking especially of Gingrich here, and not so much Limbaugh). The two do accept welfare when they don’t perceive the money as having come out of their pocket, or when they feel they will see a return on investment, such as international nation-building, largely in the Middle East. They oppose welfare because they are in a higher tax-bracket, not because they feel it is always wrong (vis-a-vis the nation building, which is exported welfare). So two of the major leaders of the “conservative” movement in the U.S. have stated they wish to affirm classic (or traditional) values, especially those forged by Christianity. But they are unwilling to apply them consistently to their own lives. As the book of James says, he who has erred in one law has erred in them all.
Neo-cons are traitors to America’s founding principles as much as the left—who never affirmed them to begin with. You may think it appropriate to vote for the lesser of two evils, and chose Romney/Ryan over Obama/Whoever. But don’t forget that we cannot keep losing ground on the quality of candidates we accept as “conservative” or soon Hitler will be the conservative, because at least he let’s us pretend we have property rights, while Stalin—the liberal—doesn’t even give deference to those rights. You can retreat strategically, and in fact that’s how the Russian’s beat Napoleon (not that I’m advocating that), but if you perpetually retreat and compromise you lose simply by intermingling.
I have stood for Ron Paul since about 2007, and made that stand uncompromising. I do this despite Ron Paul’s extreme outside chance of winning the Presidential candidate, and in spite of the (flawed) argument that Romney will lose if Ron Paul doesn’t cede his voters, assuring an Obama victory, because our fight can no longer be on the federal level. That fight has long been lost; Federal power must be dismantled. Even “conservative” justices are liberal. Conservative presidents and presidential candidates consistently vote to increase the power of government. It is shocking, so shocking as to be radical, when Representatives and Senators advocate the Constitution. I stand with Ron Paul because the fight that must be won is on the state level, the local level, not the federal level. If Obama wins, which would be a tragedy, Tea-Partiers and even neo-cons, states, and other subsidiary political institutions will have to start fighting on a state level. If Romney wins all those organizations will breath a sigh of relief and let the POTUS handle the battle with his executive orders and mandates.
So should we, or the neo-cons, breath a sigh of relief because Paul Ryan is more conservative than Romney? If Paul Ryan is the definition of Conservative, then God help us. Should we just forget his support of big-government legislation, not only TARP, but also the PATRIOT Act, and the National Defense Authorization Act numerous times? If we do forget then we deserve Obamney.
Patrick Henry’s speech was not “life is about compromising with tyrants to make sure things are a little better a little longer,” but was instead, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”