Saturday, November 23, 2002

Freedom vs. Order

There is a great debate today between republican conservatives and the libertarians and young conservatives who gave them the power that they have today. As a person who believes in freedom, it pains me to say that my side is about to lose this debate. Power is about to trump freedom, and the conservative movement will be the loser.

On one side we have the social conservatives, supply side, free market conservatives, and old time Republican party hacks like Rush Limbaugh and Bishop Hatch. These people are the ones who reflect the current republican party future. On the other side are the young conservatives, who can not bring themselves to be called conservatives or even republicans, but so abhor the democrats that they refer to themselves as libertarians. Add to that believers in small government and constitutional freedom who find a lot more to vote for on the libertarian side of American politics, but would rather vote for a republican winner that a libertarian loser. This is the group that is about to realize just how great a mistake they have made.

In the end, the republican party is a party of statists, who, just like the democrats, feel that there are a host of problems that can be cured if only the government, THEIR government, has a little more power. There are differences here, but, from where I sit, they are trivial. The big idea is that, in order for the government to acquire more power, we the people must give some up. Today Jonah Goldberg outlines how we should be happy that we are as free as we are, which, to me, sounds just like the argument that slavery was a wonderful transition time for the blacks, since that is how they paid their passage to the New World.

It may be a disappointment to see what a statist Goldberg has become, but it is not that at all. He his showing his republican feathers at the time that his party has achieved great power. The republican agenda is heavy on prayer in schools, restricting a woman's freedom over her bodily functions, and military strength as a route to world domination. Now, don't get me wrong. I like world domination. Especially when it is my side that dominates. But, like sausage, the process of its genesis is unpalatable. Mandating weapon systems that the military doesn't want and abandoning old allies who become less useful as time goes on are all a part of world domination, and it sucks. Sometimes I read Harry Browne describing how we should have stayed out of the wars of the 20th Century and it sounds right. Of course, as a Jew I applaud the entry of the U.S.A. into WWII, but as a rational thinker I realize that his thesis is correct: if we had sat out the 2 World Wars, Korea, and Viet Nam, we would be a much freer and safer people today.

In the same issue of National Review Randy Barnett explains that the republican party should give a little more of what libertarians want. Fat chance. Bush is every bit the statist and prohibitionist that Clinton was. His agenda of military conquest is incompatible with personal freedom for Americans, and his determination to pursue a war without end promises to give the government more power every year it continues, whichever party is in charge. For there is very little difference between the two great national parties.