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Antiwar Conservatives and Rumors of Antiwar Conservatives

By W. James Antle, III on 7.27.10 @ 8:20AM

Recently, I wrote a cover story for the American Conservative making two arguments:

1.) Rand Paul's victory shows that, in the current political environment, a principled economic and social conservative who runs a good campaign can win mainstream Republican support despite deviations from the party line on foreign policy and 2.) There are tendencies within the mainstream right -- ranging from fiscal conservatism to Jacksonian skepticism of nation-building -- that lend themselves to certain arguments for a less interventionist foreign policy, though not necessarily the kind of arguments that non-interventionist conservatives tend to make.
Daniel Larison is skeptical, pointing to the inconsistencies of various Republicans who have criticized war-making under the Obama administration. All valid concerns, especially since Afghanistan seems to be the war that is least popular among Republicans right now despite being the least objectionable war from a paleoconservative perspective (at least initially).

I'd only offer two rejoinders. The first is that any successful political movement is going to include its share of opportunists. In the 1990s, the last time conservative Republicans opposed wars and nation-building exercises in large numbers, you saw a mix of people who were genuinely trying to move the right's foreign policy in a less interventionist direction (Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, John Hostettler), partisan Republicans who simply disliked "Democrat wars," GOP members of Congress trying to preserve their legislative power agaisnt a Democratic executive, and hawks who didn't think Haiti and Kosovo were the best use of our military in light of other threats. That kind of coalition-building is necessary in practical politics.


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At least it shows

that we're getting a subtle "nod" that we exist, from the mainstream neocons who try to call themselves "conservatives".

And he's right, there is a long road ahead that is very hard, and will need alot of "baby steps" to move forward.
And it's primarily because of the previous propaganda that has taken hold of many people. As far as these many people are concerned, that propaganda is "true", and that's the way they think about it.

The idea he posited at the end of the article, that this is some kind of "benevolent hegemony" is where he went terribly wrong. And it's where most of these "conservatives" in the population go wrong.
It's NOT a "benevolent hegemony". That's just part of the propaganda.

No country can "export" what it does not have.
The US cannot export "freedom and justice" because it doesn't have it here.
What we do have here, and CAN export, is a corporatism/gov't heavy hand, slathered in corruption. And, that's what this gov't is "exporting".
How that could be considered "benevolent" is quite the stretch.

The people of the US "want to think" that we're all doing "good things" that are "helping" these other countries, and "protecting ourselves", but they don't pay attention to what is really happening. Either here or abroad. They operate on their fantasy notions that "nothing has gone wrong". It's "flag waving" syndrome.

There are huge problems, and I don't know if they can be overcome. There sure aren't enough of us to make the change, but if we keep the message going out, maybe one day there will be enough of us.

I always come back to the concept of "you can't export what you don't have".
People respond to this.
If you can get them to agree that there are huge problems here at home, that do not in any way reflect what the intent of America was supposed to be, and then let them see that this is the only thing we can "export" because that's what WE have, then there might be some hope.

Right now, we are basically exporting the same thing as the Soviet Empire exported. Tyranny and abuse, theft of resources, and death and oppressive occupation, in an open-ended time frame with no end in sight.
That is NOT the American way.

Nice article.

Turning the momentum will be a big undertaking, and we do need coalitions, even if they end up being temporary in the long term scheme of things.

Integrity means having to say things that people don't want to hear & especially to say things that the regime doesnt want to hear -RonPaul