Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Brief Comment

People often doubt me when I say that much of Ron Paul's support comes not from the right but from discontented leftists, that, once Democrats get in office and have to apply some realism to their foreign policy (not a lot, but some), and thus discontent the radical peaceniks, they end up searching for a champion, and many end up with nominally right wing isolationists.

Well, I have found proof.  While following some links in Facebook, I found a page which simultaneously promoted Ron Paul's interpretation of Benghazi, cursed Joe Lieberman, posted a DailyKos book supporting unions as beneficial, and evinced a strong pro-Palestinian position. I am not going to post a link, as I dislike promoting pages with which I disagree, but a little searching should turn up a few pages of the sort. (Probably quite a few.) Now, I will grant, this could be not a left winger, but a pro-union, anti-Israel "paleo-con", however, that just proves another of my points, the fact that paleo-cons are not much different from liberals. In fact, if you just edit out mentions of Jesus and culture conflicts, Obama and Pat Buchanan have remarkably similar platforms.

I am sure this post will elicit a number of angry replies, but it needs to be said. The problem with many on the right, especially among the paleo-cons and the "fear of government" and isolationist libertarians, is that they have forgotten what government is and isn't, and have latched on to superficial issues about which to argue, or else, have taken a single issue and become so obsessed that they have allowed absurd arguments to win them over. Be it the neo-anarchist theories of those who fear government, the unwillingness to do anything that might conceivably touch another nation by the isolationists, or the revival of 19th century mercantilism (along with a confusing and inconsistent love of unions -- at least among some) evinced by paleo-cons, they have all forgotten that government is a tool to protect individual rights, and nothing more. But nothing less as well.

Well I am working, and have little time to go into this at length. I will come back to it later and perhaps discuss it in some more detail. Granted, there is little tying the two libertarian errors to the paleo-con errors, except that many individuals seem to share all three mistakes (no matter how inconsistent they might be with one another), but since there seems to be a group that embraces all of them (which I often dub "the Libertarian Left"), I should take a moment to debunk the lot.

So, please check back later, perhaps even hold off on the irate comments until then. I promise I will write about them at much greater length shortly.


I was reading some old posts and found a quote in "Trophy Spouses" which seems to point out a parallel error among those with whom I agree. If the libertarians often take a rightful fear of government exceeding its authority and turn it into a fear of government, even a sort of anarchism, or as paleo-cons take the proper self-interest aspects included in some forms of nationalism and turn them into a policy which accepts nearly anything they think advances their nation regardless of the implications or consequences, those who hold the correct ideas often managed to draw the wrong conclusions as well:
It is a point I have made over and over. Though conservatives denounce many cultural problems, somehow they seem to overlook the underlying cause of so many, our fascination with youth and our inversion of the traditional pattern of development from youth to adulthood. While they denounce specific consequences of this change, they seem to miss the basic cause, some even embracing it. I admit some conservatives do actually recognize the problem, but, unfortunately, most seem to be among the social conservatives ho are inclined to misuse government power in a different way, while those who recognize the proper function of government tend to eschew social questions, as they think addressing them will make it seem they want to use government power improperly.
That is a mistake, or rather both approaches are. The social conservatives are wrong to think government should be used to change social trends, while the libertarian conservatives are wrong to think social questions need be ignored as they are not within the scope of government. Yes, social questions are not amenable to government solutions, but that does not mean we should ignore them, e are still part of that society and have an interest in its success or failure. All we need to do is to make clear that when we discuss social trends, we are not calling for government action, but instead of the sort of pressure that individuals can bring upon cultural movements. In that way we can still address important social questions without falling into the error of the authoritarian social conservatives who wish to use the state to address what should be private matters.
I have gone on at too great a length already. The simple answer is that society has taken the wrong direction socially as well as politically, the two are related, and both reinforce one another. Unless we address both, we will have little success. But e need to address the two aspects of the problem in different ways. Just as doctors treat both influenza and broken legs, we need to address both political and cultural aspects of our society. But as a doctor would not use a vaccine for a broken bone or a splint for the flu, e need to avoid trying to use government to solve cultural issues, government is the tool for addressing very specific problems, and only those. We still need to address problems that fall outside that scope, we just need to do so without using the power of government.
I know, there is a world of difference between these errors and those I discussed above, but in truth, the root of the problems is quite similar. But, I will discuss that later, when I write the promised post.

I also hope to go back and add all the links I promised to provide to supplement "In A Nutshell". I doubt it will happen tonight, but before the end of the weekend, I will write the post I promised, elaborating upon the comments above, as well as providing those links, and finishing the other two half-finished posts I am working on at the moment. I may even complete a third, though I am not yet decided whether or not it is worth completing. I suppose we will see in the next few days.

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