The soul-searching and handwringing within the conservative movement continues apace. Dick Cheney has entered the controversy by suggesting that Colin Powell should leave the Republican Party owing to Powell’s pre-election campaign endorsement of Barack Obama. Cheney’s view echoed that of conservative icon Rush Limbaugh, who Powell suggested was part of the reason that Republicans were in trouble.
Nothing could be more ridiculous. These people continue the charade they’ve played for decades, a charade that pretends that there are fundamental philosophical differences between conservatives and liberals.
In truth and in fact, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two. It’s all a bitter, intra-house fight over who is going to control the levers of federal power.
For decades, conservatives have postured themselves as defenders of “free enterprise, private property, and limited government.” It’s their favorite mantra. Just go to the website of any prominent conservative think tank or educational foundation, and I’ll guarantee that you will find it there. They have it on their masthead, in their mission statement, in their stationery, and in their articles, and they repeat it ad infinitum, ad nauseam at their seminars and conferences. It’s how conservatives try to show how they’re different from liberals.
Yet, take a close look at those conservative websites, especially their positions on specific issues. You will find something very interesting: They support all the things that violate the principles of the mantra that they hold so dear. And guess what: Those are also the things that liberals hold dear.
Want some examples? Just to mention a few: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, income taxation, the drug war, government-business partnerships, education grants, public schooling, farm subsidies, SBA loans, the Federal Reserve, paper money, managed trade and immigration, a foreign military empire, the war on terrorism, the CIA, wars of aggression, foreign occupations, and sanctions and embargoes.
Now, ask yourself: How can any of those things be reconciled with the mantra “free enterprise, private property, and limited government”? They can’t be. As socialist, interventionist, and imperial programs, they violate principles of free enterprise and private property and produce a government of unlimited powers, especially in foreign affairs.
Recently Republican Senator Arlen Specter shocked the Republican-Democratic world by shifting to the Democrats. Yawn! What’s the big deal? With the exception of Ron Paul, every Republican and Democratic member of Congress could switch back and forth and it wouldn’t make any difference philosophically because they all share the same statist philosophy. The only difference it would make is with respect to control, which is what it’s all about.
Look at Barack Obama. Have you noticed any fundamental differences between his economic philosophy and foreign-policy philosophy and that of his predecessor George W. Bush? There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them. Obama has embraced every one of Bush’s foreign-policy programs and his infringements on civil liberties. He is also borrowing, spending, and printing as much money as Bush, if not more.
And why not? Like Bush, Obama believes in the socialistic welfare state and the planned economy. And like Bush, he believes in the empire and its right to impose its will on everyone else in the world.
The real ideological, moral, and economic battle in this country is between the lovers of liberty, on the one hand, and the lovers of statism, on the other hand. The lovers of liberty are the libertarians. The lovers of statism are the conservatives and liberals. Unlike the statists, who support and defend all those socialist, interventionist, and imperial programs, libertarians are committed to abolishing and repealing every single one of them. For libertarians, liberty and moral principles, not tax loot and political power, are the highest priority.