by: Anthony Gregory
It is natural for libertarians to identify more with the side out of power. In a democratic system, those not wielding government force are, categorically, less guilty of crimes against individual liberty. Their rhetoric tends to be much better. An appeal to constitutionalism, founding principles or balanced budgets is much more often heard from those not at the reins of the state. It is music to libertarians’ ears, even when we know the song was ripped off and is being lip-synced.
The pattern has been this way for a long time. Under Clinton, the right condemned federal welfare, police abuses, internationalism in foreign policy, and almost all erosions of the constitutional limits on the central state. The 1990s right flirted with revisionist history and a radical rethinking of the post-New Deal government, helping libertarians to find at least some common ground. The Kosovo War, in particular, demonstrated that the leftist attachment to peace was an illusion and that perhaps as much headway could be made on war issues in conservative circles as could be made anywhere.
Then we had the Bush years. The conservative movement became almost completely enthralled with the very worst of what government is capable of: mass murder. The American right began to take on the character of a truly totalitarian movement. Calls for deporting dissenters, shutting down the press, nuking tens of millions of people, banning Islam and other such despotic proposals were heard all over talk radio. At the height of Bush’s power and prestige, it almost looked like liberty was doomed in America, thanks primarily to the same crowd that gave us Reagan, the Contract with America and the defeat of Al Gore. Lew Rockwell’s “The Reality of Red-State Fascism,” as well as many other works by him and by others on this site and elsewhere, perfectly summed up the problem of the time.
Things have swung back somewhat. Conservatives now talk about the Founding Fathers again. They have put up a noble resistance to Obamacare, Cap and Trade and the rest of the administration’s truly terrible domestic schemes. Unfortunately, they fail to go all the way in condemning domestic socialism, but it is a start. Conservatives have even taken an interest in nullification and other radical doctrines of classical liberalism. At times, it seems like they are all that is standing between our imperfect state of freedom and the total socialization of America. Rightwingers are even becoming skeptical of “nation-building” in Afghanistan. Ann Coulter of all people has become a qualified dove, all the while Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and the other leaders of progressivism have become fixated on demonizing the tea parties, hysterically prophesizing the rise of racist militias, and championing the national security state.
But, tragically, the rightwing is still locked into its post-9/11 mentality – which is to say its Cold War stance or even its classical attachment to the ancien régime.
Reposted from LewRockwell.com