May 02, 2004

neocons disparaged

I'm not a libertarian.

I do, however, understand why a libertarian would loathe the neocons, and when I read Justin Raimondo's perceptive critique of the neoconservative program, I was more than willing to sign on to most of it:

Their foreign policy, an unrestrained push for American dominance, had been a hard sell in the initial years of the post-cold war era, and their domestic agenda dubbed "national greatness" conservatism, seemed far too grandiose for most. America, they argued, was enjoying what the columnist Charles Krauthammer called "the unipolar moment," that is, unrivaled power on the world scene that caused the French to invent a new and slightly derisive label us: the hyperpower, i.e. a power that was so far above all others that it ascended to a whole new level. The US, argued Krauthammer, and others, had to seize this moment before it passed. Global hegemony was within our reach: we had only to reach out and grasp it. to realize all the dreams of Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon combined. . .

It is on the home front, however, that the real battle is being waged, and it is on this battleground that the neocons show their true colors, coming out of the closet, so to speak, as what Claes Ryn and Paul Craig Roberts describe as "neo-Jacobins." The original Jacobins were the most radical and bloodthirsty faction of the French Revolution, and when they gained power they set up the guillotine in the public square, created a police state, and launched a furious pogrom that ended only when Robespierre met his end on the very guillotine to which he had condemned thousands. . .

The above could have been written by anyone, of any political stripe save the neoconservative one. But Raimondo is a libertarian, and he emphasizes the reasons why he thinks libertarians should oppose the Bush Regime:

This is why libertarians oppose the war plans of our leaders, and why libertarianism is the polar opposite of neoconservatism. The tendency of war is to centralize economic and political power, to intrude the long arm of government into every sector of the private sphere, to militarize and regiment society and enforce uniformity of thought. George W. Bush's program of perpetual war, in effect, means the overthrow of our old republic. In sounding the call to do battle against an amorphous and omnipresent enemy that cannot be defeated for at least a generation, he is sounding the death knell of the America political idea, which is of a government strictly limited by custom and the Constitution. . .

We saw how the George W. Bush of our era Richard M. Nixon escalated the war in Vietnam even as he instituted wage-and-price controls. The Republicans, we learned back then, were the party of war and Big Government and the two inevitably went hand-in-hand. Today, history is repeating itself and, if the first time was as tragedy, then the second time is farce of truly monumental proportions.

One sign of the strength of Raimondo's argument is that it makes sense even to non-libertarians--something that isn't true of much of the pseudo-religious claptrap that you often read in libertarian magazines such as Reason.

(Article via Political Theory Daily Review)

Posted by Carey at May 2, 2004 06:08 PM