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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Fearing Obama


Conservatives and the neo-cons seem to be growing increasingly agitated over the possibility that Barack Obama is going to win the November election. Part of this agitation is, of course, over the likelihood that federal spending (and, therefore, taxation or inflation), along with domestic socialism and regulation, are going to soar even more than they have under Bush.

But my hunch is that the agitation is growing for another reason.

Ever since 9/11, conservatives and the neo-cons have steadfastly taken the position that “we’re at war” against “the terrorists.” It’s an endless war, they have repeatedly maintained, one that will last so long as there are potential terrorists threatening the American people.

Given that “we’re at war,” the conservatives and neo-cons have said that “patriotism” dictates supporting “our commander-in-chief.” Anyone who criticizes his policies in time of war is behaving unpatriotically, perhaps even treasonously. When we’re at war, “extraordinary powers” must be exercised, and in “emergencies” mistakes will be made.

So, what happens if Obama, a Democrat with a socialist and interventionist philosophy, wins the presidency? What happens if he uses the CIA, the FBI, and the military to do many of the same things that they’ve been doing under the Bush regime (e.g., torture, sex abuse, rendition, tribunals, invasions and occupations, arbitrary arrests, indefinite detentions, domestic spying, etc.), plus more?

What do conservatives and neo-cons do?

If they follow their principles to their logical conclusion, they will faithfully support the actions of their “commander in chief” given the fact that “we’re still at war” against “the terrorists.” Thus, they will need to support Obama — their new “commander in chief” during “time of war” as loyally as they have their previous “commander-in-chief.”

If they join us libertarians in condemning such actions, won’t they be exposing themselves as hypocrites for having blindly supported the actions of President Bush and for having condemned those of us who have stood steadfastly against Bush’s wrongdoing?

I suspect that this quandary is causing no small amount of unease within the hearts and minds of conservatives and neo-conservatives. What do they do if Obama becomes their new “commander-in-chief” in time of “war”?

Of course, if Obama is elected, liberals (i.e., leftists) who have been critical of Bush’s wrongdoing will undoubtedly place themselves on the other side of fence. Loyally supporting their man, they will flip-flip to the other side and come up with all sorts of rationales and justifications for supporting such things as torture, invasions, occupations, rendition, and so forth..

Through it all, libertarians will be the consistent advocates of liberty, free markets, the Constitution, and a limited-government republic. We don’t view the president as a commander in chief for the American people, only for the military. We understand that the “war on terror” is as big a sham as the “war on drugs” and “war on poverty.” We understand that the many crises facing our nation are rooted in Washington, D.C. We understand that genuine patriotism involves standing for what’s right, even if that means taking a stand against one’s own government. Our principles do not depend on who is in power.

When Americans decide they want out of the deep morass in which our nation finds itself, regardless of whether McCain or Obama is elected president, there is but one solution — libertarianism.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.