When I joined WorldNetDaily, there appeared in the one and only Canadian newsmagazine of the Right a brief notice to that effect. Much to the chagrin of WND’s editor and CEO, Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily was identified in that snippet as a conservative site. Mr. Farah’s attention to ideology is certainly commendable in a world where rank, bipartisan politics is held up as a paragon of principle.
The question remains as to why the “conservative” label has become a liability to some men and women of the (Real) Right.
A brief mention is in order of a landmark linguistic loss that mars the history of the Right. The word “liberal” belonged to the Old Right. It stood for “classical liberalism,” which blossomed in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the words of David Conway, author of “Classical Liberalism: The Unvanquished Ideal,” classical liberalism is a form of polity that grants to its adult members “the liberty to do whatever they want, provided no one but, at most, themselves is harmed by their doing it.” Government is constrained constitutionally and ethically to the defense of life, liberty and property alone.
Subsequent to the looting of the term by the Left, “liberal” came to denote a social democrat who champions the welfare-warfare state and the attendant governmental omnipotence. It goes without saying that the “liberal” appellation includes almost all Republicans; establishment politicians are social democrats of one or another variety.
In the wonderfully conciliatory 1992 essay “A Strategy for The Right,” Murray N. Rothbard traced the original American Right to a reaction against the New Deal and the manner in which it sundered the old republic’s classical-liberal foundations. The impetus of the original Right was an abolition of the welfare state ushered in with the New Deal and a return to the foreign policy of George Washington, to wit, adopting an America First foreign affairs policy and avoiding the world-hegemon status our imposter “conservatives” or neo-conservatives are now cultivating. By no means a monolith, the Old Right sported nuanced opinions in matters of philosophy and policy. Sadly, it petered out politically, only to be usurped by the W. F. Buckley, big-government “conservatives.”
So who are these “conservative” social democrats, and what do they stand for?
Behind the current administrative scene, there is a cadre of people working to help President Bush unleash his inner Caligula. Smitten with their “National Greatness” agenda, President Bush is considering an aggressive war on Iraq, maybe even Iran, and North Korea. This particular neo-conservative putsch is led by William Kristol’s Weekly Standard faction, to which many members of the current administration can trace their political family tree.
The National Review has also spawned its share of Beltway Buckleyites, tagged ferociously by historian Paul Gottfried. Particularly pique-making is the claim by a prominent National Review scribe to be writing in defense of the “West.” As Gottfried points out, the denuded and emasculated West our neo-cons are defending is a “post Christian and postconservative phenomenon run by retread communists and supranational social-engineering bureaucracies.” These “crypto-leftists” uphold a “vast managerial state” and support every bit of incursion into liberty that the Real Right rejects.
From anti-discrimination legislative attacks on private property and First Amendment rights to the promotion of “large-scale Third World immigration” that displaces “Western core populations by groups that are culturally different and, in some cases, openly antagonistic” – the neo-cons are in philosophical tandem with the left.
The neo-con affinity for Israel is a contentious issue in their worldview.
To the extent that this affinity – not necessarily its policy prescriptions – is based on the coherent recognition that Israel stands in stark contrast to the region’s totalitarian, purely socialistic chieftains, it has moral clarity. To the extent that neo-con cheerleading for Israel is rooted in the idea of Israel as a U.S.-compatible, post-modern social democracy, it is confused.
The de facto state of Israel is nothing of the kind.
Israel is an attempt at an ethnically homogeneous nation-state. In order to survive as well as defend its identity, Israel must practice ethnic – not racial – exclusion. The justification for Israel is rooted in the absolute right of an ethnically homogeneous, voluntary association of people to defend and preserve its distinct identity, even if it entails exclusion based on the preserved characteristics, something our neo-con champions of multiculturalism would disavow. Like their leftist compatriots, neo-cons believe that the health of the State is best served by dissolving national distinctiveness with identity politics and multiculturalism. Neo-con nirvana is a U.S.-supervised world where Afghani and Israeli alike are fashioned into global democrats, citizens of the world.
The political recrudescence of the Real Right is clearly still a long way away.