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Posts Tagged ‘neoconservatism’

Is Kamala Harris a 21st-Century Woodrow Wilson? | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 6, 2020

To pander to the socialists, Harris supports the profligate Green New Deal and a universal basic income, funded by new taxes that will “only” be levied on the wealthy. Harris exerts enormous influence over the extremely malleable (and increasingly senile) Biden, jubilantly telling Trevor Noah on The Daily Show that “as soon as we get him in the White House, and even before with these task forces that we had, we were able to significantly push Joe Biden to do things that he hadn’t signed on to before.”

Clearly, Harris plans to run the show.

https://mises.org/wire/kamala-harris-21st-century-woodrow-wilson?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=078d03d63e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_09_04_06_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-078d03d63e-228343965

Although the draconian lockdowns punished the economy, a partial recovery occurred after governments allowed businesses to reopen. However, continued economic growth depends on the outcome of the presidential election. The crisis opened the door for a surge in regulations, subsidies, and other special interest privileges under the guise of promoting the “public health.”

This progressivism—a code word for cronyism—presents a serious threat to America.

As Murray Rothbard explains, the original Progressive Era witnessed corporate and safety regulations, environmental laws, welfare and labor compensation, and new taxes that benefited favored corporations, bureaucrats, academics, and labor activists at the expense of the taxpayer. If trends continue, modern politicians will pass similar policies to benefit themselves and favored supporters, crippling economic activity. To properly understand this progressivist threat, one must recognize the motives, background, and ideological orientation of the original progressives. They were mostly Yankees, the descendants of the Puritans who stayed in New England or emigrated to New York and the Midwest. They grew up in evangelical households that urged a remaking of society by coercively stamping out sin, particularly alcohol consumption. After earning PhDs in Germany, progressives preached their interventionism under the secularized guise of science and the public welfare. Furthermore, these social engineers supported eugenics, the science of controlling the labor supply to improve its overall quality. Lastly, progressives strove to revolutionize the world through foreign policy adventures.

In their struggle for economic privileges, progressives split into two groups. The corporatists championed protecting trusts and cartels from the vicissitudes of the free market. These big business advocates wanted to create trade commissions and other regulatory agencies to cripple competition and impose onerous compliance costs on small businesses. On the other hand, the socialists desired an overhaul of the capitalist system, blaring the trumpets for stringent antitrust regulation, radical labor laws, and redistributive taxes. President Woodrow Wilson embodied both strands, working with the two groups to enact the income tax, the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Trade Commission.

In many ways, modern progressives are carbon copies. They congregate in New England and live in coastal New York City, Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. While eschewing traditional religion, modern progressives are zealots for egalitarianism and social justice. They attended the Ivy League and other elite American universities, empowering them with government-funded research. Although modern progressives disregard eugenics, they still advocate social engineering, championing egalitarianism for everybody except themselves while dictating what is morally acceptable. Finally, they are thoroughgoing foreign interventionists. Neoconservatism is actually a variant of progressivism, for as Angelo Codevilla explains, George W. Bush’s wars were “but an extrapolation of the sentiments of America’s progressive class, first articulated by people such as Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson.”

The progressive movement still splits along corporatist and socialist lines. The former support a cozy relationship with Wall Street and “Big Tech,” welcoming various internet and safety regulations that would hurt smaller businesses without the appropriate ecommerce infrastructure. The latter advocate radically anticapitalist measures, particularly the dismantling of Big Tech, the Green New Deal, a universal basic income, and wealth taxes. With the exception of hostile antitrust lawsuits, big business corporatists are not against these measures per se, provided they can acquire environmental subsidies and offload the cost of new entitlements and taxes onto the less wealthy (accomplished with the progressivist income tax and Social Security).

If Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden embody the corporatist mindset and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren the socialist mentality, then surely Kamala Harris is the modern Wilsonian.

Big Tech has funded Harris in various California elections in exchange for favorable regulatory oversight. Many former personnel now work for the large companies: a senior counsel left in 2018 to lobby on behalf of Amazon, Harris’s first campaign manager works for Google, and her brother-in-law is the chief legal officer for Uber.

To pander to the socialists, Harris supports the profligate Green New Deal and a universal basic income, funded by new taxes that will “only” be levied on the wealthy. Harris exerts enormous influence over the extremely malleable (and increasingly senile) Biden, jubilantly telling Trevor Noah on The Daily Show that “as soon as we get him in the White House, and even before with these task forces that we had, we were able to significantly push Joe Biden to do things that he hadn’t signed on to before.”

Clearly, Harris plans to run the show.

Similar to the legislation of one hundred years ago, the new progressive juggernaut presents an incredible threat to the United States. Its policies will impoverish the public to enrich elite businesses, politicians, intellectuals, and unions. This future looks bleak, and it must be stopped.

[Adapted from “America 2021: The Threat of Progressivism,” a talk delivered on August 29 in Orlando, FL.]

Author:

Contact Patrick Newman

Patrick is Assistant Professor of Economics at Florida Southern College. He completed his PhD in the Department of Economics at George Mason University. He is a 2018 Mises Institute Research Fellow.

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Conservatism: A Vanishing Tradition | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 21, 2019

If, for example, you don’t think that Martin Luther King was a “moral saint,” as more than one eminent philosopher has termed him, the Left will not try to show that your arguments for your view are mistaken. It will deny you a forum to express your arguments at all and then try to destroy you personally.

https://mises.org/wire/conservatism-vanishing-tradition?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=2817c00b24-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-2817c00b24-228343965

[The Vanishing Tradition: Perspective on American Conservatism. Edited by Paul Gottfried. Cornell University Press, 2020. 223 + pages.]

Paul Gottfried’s excellent anthology of essays on American conservatives chronicles a key phenomenon of our times. Understanding it is important not only for those, like Gottfried and his contributors, who are traditionalist conservatives, but for anyone concerned with freedom. The phenomenon in question is the takeover of American conservatism by neoconservatives.

Why should this development concern us? In brief, the neocons, interested in their own agenda, have joined with the left in enforcing a public orthodoxy that excludes certain views from discussion. As Gottfried explains: “We might note some of the offenses for which an older Right was read out of the movement by the 1990s. Such presumed enormities included opposing the First Gulf War, supporting Patrick Buchanan’s presidential bid in 1992, and complaining about the influence of the American Israeli lobby. Some of the same people had also been critical of the cultural effects of Third World immigration, the extensions of the Voting Rights Act that would increase the electoral strength of the Left and bring the electoral process almost totally under federal administrative control, and the elevation of Martin Luther King — a controversial figure of the Left in his own time — to iconic status with a national holiday.”

Obviously, those who favor the suppressed positions should be concerned, but others should be as well. The Left, joined by the neocons, not only insists on its agenda but will not allow dissent. If, for example, you don’t think that Martin Luther King was a “moral saint,” as more than one eminent philosopher has termed him, the Left will not try to show that your arguments for your view are mistaken. It will deny you a forum to express your arguments at all and then try to destroy you personally. Even if you admire King or accept other tenets of the public orthodoxy, you should be troubled by the suppression of free speech.

Two of the contributors, Keith Preston and Boyd D. Cathey, discuss in detail one such smear campaign against a dissenter from the Official Truth. This was directed at Mel Bradford, a literary scholar and historian, who criticized Abraham Lincoln. In 1981, Ronald Reagan intended to nominate Bradford to head the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Bradford’s opinions about Lincoln would on the surface seem irrelevant to his fitness for the post. But Lincoln’s role as the savior of the Union and scourge of slavery is a key part of our public orthodoxy. The Left joined forces with the neocons to strike at Bradford. Preston writes: “As a legal scholar, Bradford was an advocate of a ‘strict constructionist’ approach to interpreting the Constitution, his view of the American founding as a conservative revolution, and his defense of the South against what he considered to be the usurpations of state sovereignty by President Lincoln during the Civil War [aroused neocon ire].”

Because he had attacked Lincoln, Bradford had to be denied the nomination. “Among the prominent neoconservatives who expressed opposition to Bradford were Irving Kristol, a former Trotskyite and the coeditor of The Public Interest, who is credited with having coined the term ‘neoconservative.’ The neoconservative movement’s other leading intellectual, Norman Podhoretz, another former leftist and the publisher of Commentary magazine, also expressed opposition to Bradford’s nomination.”

Why are the neocons willing to join forces with the Left? Doing so permits them to advance more effectively their own goals, strong support for Israel and for an interventionist foreign policy. Marjorie Jeffrey gets at the heart of the matter: “In what may be considered one of the founding documents of what became Bush-era neoconservatism, [William] Kristol and [Robert] Kagan wrote in ‘Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy’ that instead of either Clinton’s ‘Wilsonian multilateralism’ or Buchanan’s ‘neo-isolationism’, America should seek a policy of ‘benevolent global hegemony.’” Those who opposed this policy were assailed: “Against these efforts [opposing war], David Frum penned his famous ‘Unpatriotic Conservatives’ essay in the pages of National Review, charging antiwar conservatives and libertarians with being anti- American: ‘They have made common cause with the left-wing and Islamist antiwar movements in this country and in Europe. They deny and excuse terror. They espouse a potentially self-fulfilling defeatism. They publicize wild conspiracy theories. And some of them explicitly yearn for the victory of their nation’s enemies.’” As Jeffrey accurately notes, Ron Paul has with characteristic insight brought into question whether an interventionist foreign policy is in America’s interests, and for this he has been vilified.

Preston in his excellent essay makes the same criticism of neocon foreign policy, but he wrongly traces interventionism to the Jacobins: “A former assistant secretary of the Treasury during the Reagan administration, Paul Craig Roberts, has described the foreign policy views of the neoconservatives as emanating from the fanaticism that emerged during the French Revolution, observing ‘there is nothing conservative about neoconservatives. Neocons hide behind ‘conservative’ but they are in fact Jacobins. Jacobins were the 18th century French revolutionaries whose intention to remake Europe in revolutionary France’s image launched the Napoleonic Wars.” A similar critique of the neoconservatives has been offered by the conservative scholar Claes Ryn.” The Jacobins in fact were mainly concerned with internal reform: it was the Gironde that wished to spread the Revolution abroad.

But this minor error pales into insignificance when put beside Preston’s indispensable point, also drawn from Ryn: ”The ongoing project of the neoconservatives has been to purge from the American Right any tendency that is suspected of opposing aggressive military interventionism, the revolutionary spread of ‘democratic capitalism’ on an international level, the geopolitical agenda of Israel’s Likud Party, or the cultural values of urban cosmopolitanism. Meanwhile, the neoconservatives will make common cause with anyone on the left they deem aggressively militarist enough.”

Some of the contributors find an epistemological source that in their opinion accounts at least in part for the errors of the neocons. The neocons favor principles that are universally true, regardless of historical time and circumstance. This contention seems to me mistaken. Isn’t the problem rather that the neocons favor the wrong universal principles? If like Murray Rothbard we support self-ownership, property rights, and peace, we would not fall victim to neocon delusions.

Mention of Rothbard of course brings to mind that he too was the victim of smear campaigns by both Buckley’s National Review and the neocons. As Gottfried remarks: “In some cases, however, those thrown off the bus were subject to at least intermittent abuse intended to justify their fall. This happened in a particularly bizarre way to Murray Rothbard, in the form of an obituary that Buckley inserted into National Review shortly after Rothbard’s death. Here Buckley offered a comparison between Rothbard and cult leader David Koresh. Neither apparently had more than a handful of followers: Rothbard had ‘as many disciples as David Koresh had in his redoubt in Waco.’ ‘Yes, Rothbard believed in freedom; David Koresh believed in God.’ It had not been enough for National Review’s founder to scold Rothbard during his lifetime.”

Fortunately, neither Buckley nor the neocons succeeded in suppressing Rothbard. His teaching continues to guide and inspire us.

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The End of the Weekly Standard – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on December 10, 2018

What they really care about is foreign policy: for them, perpetual war for perpetual peace isn’t an absurdity: it’s a policy. From their days as the brain trust of Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, who was known as the Senator from Lockheed, their agenda has been consistent: establishing and maintaining American military hegemony on every continent.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/12/09/the-end-of-the-weekly-standard/

by 

The rumored demise of the Weekly Standard is yet another of Donald J. Trump’s achievements that will go uncelebrated by his liberal enemies: indeed, they are even now mourning the death of the neoconservative flagship as they never did when it was at the height of its maleficent glory.

And of course neoconservatism’s many fellow-travelers are out there with panegyrics. It “stood up for conservative principle” in the age of Trump, writes Meghan McArdle. What principle this might be, Ms. McArdle somehow neglects to say: perhaps it’s a penchant for perpetual war, the only known characteristic this famously eccentric and variable band hold in common. BothMcArdle and the editors of the Standard thrilled their readers with stories of the great danger posed by Saddam Hussein, who they told us had nukes hidden beneath his palace ready to launch at a moment’s notice.

Let’s take a look at the three important roles played by the Standard and its editors in the history of the post-9/11 era.

To begin with, Kristol and his neoconservative cadre served as the point men and chief agitators for the series of wars we fought, to disastrous effect, in the Middle East. Through a series of front groups and thinktanks, such as the Project for a New American Century, the neocons spread their propaganda with promiscuous alacrity, to Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike,… Read the rest of this entry »

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