Blogs > Liberty and Power > A Necessary Reminder

Feb 7, 2004 6:36 pm


A Necessary Reminder



I was just rereading my discussion of Irving Kristol's"The Neoconservative Persuasion." Here is the conclusion of that essay -- which I repeat here, since it appears that many prowar libertarians still have not comprehensively or persuasively addressed these concerns. I also offer it again, because I honestly do not know how to state these issues any more clearly:

I want to emphasize once more the major theme of my foreign policy series -- the point which those libertarians and Objectivists who continue to support the particular means adopted by the Bush Administration in the war on terror will not acknowledge, address or come to terms with. There exists a necessary interdependence and a necessary reinforcement mechanism between a domestic policy of massive government intervention in the economy, including high rates of taxation, a huge regulatory mechanism, and the intricate linkages between"private" business and government, on the one hand, and a foreign policy of aggressive intervention overseas, followed by lengthy periods of foreign occupation, on the other. These are not discrete phenomena: they are the necessary mirror images of each other, reflecting the same fundamental premises and the same unavoidable outcomes.

In the end, Kristol has performed a valuable service. He has ripped the mask off of the New Fascism, and revealed its true face: an unquestioning acceptance, even an adoration, of big government; a reliance on, and a willing alliance with, a set of beliefs founded in religious conviction -- together with a willingness to use the power of government to enforce conduct in accordance with those beliefs; and an eagerness to embrace dominance of the entire world -- but only on the neoconservatives' terms. And no judgments or analysis of any of this is desirable, or even possible. It's all"inevitable," and none of it could be helped. Since that is the case in Kristol's view, you may as well accept and enjoy it.

Thus do the neoconservatives bring us the New Fascism and, at the same time, annihilate the intellect, the realm of moral judgment, and the ability to evaluate alternative courses of action. Indeed, according to Kristol, there aren't any alternative courses of action. Such an"achievement" is monstrousness of a very high order. So I say once again to those libertarians and Objectivists who support, to whatever degree, the program of the New Fascists: Kristol has told you, in absolutely unmistakable terms, exactly what the nature of this program is. If you still wish to embrace it, the choice is certainly yours.

But if you do, please don't continue to insist that you are on the side of freedom, liberty, or a love for mankind. You aren't. Kristol has made absolutely clear what it is that you are supporting, and no one should pretend otherwise any longer.

My multipart foreign policy essay contains many examples of how these principles play out, both domestically and internationally. I will also set modesty aside for the moment, and add that events of the last six months or more, and events today, continue to confirm almost everything that I said in that essay.

I truly wish it were otherwise, simply because the results are so dangerous and destructive, in so many ways, including with regard to the genuine needs of our own security.




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