Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Am I a Neocon?

The term "neocon" has been tossed around a great deal lately. And, while I agree with some Republican policies, and disagree with others, I thought it worthwhile to investigate what is meant by the label neo-conservative. Wikipedia gives us an interesting explanation of the term(1). And while I can certainly state, based on Wikipedia's explanation, that I am opposed to the policies and philosophy that make a "neocon" a "neocon", I see that Ronald Regan and his policies toward the Soviet Union are considered "neocon" policies and philosophy in action, by wikipedia. I then felt compelled to ask myself, what could have been done differently, and still given the world such a positive outcome in the collapse of the USSR? I have not given a lot of thought to Reagan's defeat of the USSR, other than to admire his style of confronting evil and standing firm against communism. However, declaring Reagan's policies in dealing with the USSR to be "neocon" is debatable, and his other policies could certainly not be characterized as such(2).

So then, what is a Neo-con? Wikipedia states:

"Compared to other U.S. conservatives, neoconservatives may be characterized by an aggressive moralist stance on foreign policy, a lesser social conservatism, and weaker dedication to a policy of minimal government, and, in the past, a greater acceptance of the welfare state, though none of these qualities are necessarily requisite."

Its quite clear immediately, I am not even remotely a "neo-con". I fall into the libertarian wing of conservatism, which I argue for in my religious defense of freedom(3).

Now that we answered that, relatively easily, I am compelled to wonder what the "neo-cons" have in common with regular conservatives, and how they ended up in the same party. I have observed that while libertarian conservatives and other regular conservatives tend to believe in free markets, the neo-cons tend toward "corporatism"(4) instead of "capitalism". At this time in history, there is clearly a battle being waged within the Republican party between traditional conservatives and "neo"-conservatives. One need only look at the spending battles in Congress being fought by Republicans on both sides to see that conflict being played out. One can see the influence of neocon and corporatist policies with regards to the current Republican administration's policies in the Middle East, and in relation to our cozy relationship with a truly "evil empire" in China.

In reading non-politically correct history, one can see that the origins of the Republican party are corporatist , as many Republicans were formerly Whigs. A fantastic book on this is DiLorenzo's The Real Lincoln. Whether you agree with his opinions on Lincoln as a man, his presentation of the other issues (other than slavery) that defined the Republican party is fascinating, and one can quickly see those positions don't vary widely from their positions today. If you buy into DiLorenzo's portrayal of how and why the civil war was fought, you would agree that the abolition of slavery was a tool used by Lincoln and the Republicans in crushing the South economically. Regardless of Lincoln's and the Republican's motives, one can clearly see that of the two major parties at the time, Democrats and Republicans, most abolitionists were Republican. Today, abolitionists (those opposed to abortion) almost universally find themselves in the Republican party as well, when compared with how many are in the Democratic party. And yet, modern abolitionists have yet to win the sort of victory they won through Lincoln. As was the case during and after the Civil War, when the Republicans tightened their grip on power (tons of detail in the book mentioned above), the corporatist wing of the Republican party was, and is pretty firmly in control of the party. Conservatives of the abolitionist sort, and the libertarian sort are along for the ride, unable to join the Democratic party today for its stand in favor of evil (abortion) as they could not join the Democratic party in the 1800's as it represented a culture of evil (slavery).

I would argue that the modern Republican party is just as firmly controlled by the corporatists as it was back in the 1800's, and those who are morally conservative and civil libertarian in nature have absolutely nowhere to turn. The Republican party is one where people who are today called "traditional" conservatives must look the other way, and hold their noses in the voting booth, because there is no way to separate the real masters of the Republican party from its anti-conservative and anti-libertarian policies.

In conclusion, it seems silly to use the term neocon. What is really meant is "traditional Republican". And unfortunately, there is no clear way to end the current debacle of dominance over America's government by the corporatists and the atheist communists in the Democratic party. (I am fully aware I just made an assertion about those who control the Democratic party, I don't have time to back it up today. If someone wants to back it up for me and email it to me, I will post it with due credit tomorrow). Lastly, a word on the next presidential election. The corporatists running the Republican party would love to run Condoleeza Rice or Rudy Giuliani against Hillary Clinton. But they haven't figured out how they can do that, and have any hope at all of winning. The fundamental issue facing our country going forward is abortion. Like it or not, that is the most important and divisive issue facing our nation. Running a neocon like Condoleeza or Rudy, while they are pro-abortion, (and without some big fake conversion like George HW Bush had when running against Reagan for the Republican nomination, so he would be acceptable as VP), will fail to turn out enough votes to stop a Hillary or other similarly terrifying Democratic nominee from winning the White House. I suspect the corporatists know this, and I can only imagine the difficulty they are going to have in picking a candidate who will both mobilize the conservative abolitionists responsible for most Republican victories, and still follow unconstitutional, and morally bankrupt corporatist policies.

1 Wikipedia on Neoconservatism_in_the_United_States

2 Dinesh D'Souza on Reagan and the Cold War

3 Where does freedom come from?

4 Wikipedia on Corporatism