Last Sunday,longtime Washington Post journalist Dan Balz raised my hopes and then quickly dashed them. In an article in last Sunday’s Post comparing Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, Balz immediately got my attention with the following sentence near the beginning of his article: “Though of different parties and different philosophies, Clinton and Bush share one thing in common: They are unabashed policy wonks.”
Sure, Clinton is a Democrat and Bush is a Republican. Everybody knows that.
But different philosophies? My immediate reaction was: This article should be interesting.
Not surprisingly though, Balz then went on to do nothing more than explain the differences in Clinton’s and Bush’s respective policy wonkiness. By the time I reached the end of the article, I was practically falling asleep.
Of course, this type of nonsense has been going on the mainstream press for as long as I can remember.
I recall how the mainstream press went agog many years ago when Republican operative Mary Matalin married Democrat operative James Carville. “How can two people of opposite philosophies possibly marry each other?” mainstream journalists exclaimed?
Well, there’s a simple answer: There are no philosophical differences between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. The only differences are over the particular reforms or “policies” that they each embrace to address the never-end crises and chaos that their political and economic philosophy produces.
Here’s the basic philosophical question: What should be the role of government in a free society?
Both liberals and conservatives are on the same page when it comes to answering that question. They both believe that it is the responsibility of government to take care of people — to watch over them — to give them taxpayer-funded largess — and to keep them safe and secure from the dangers and vicissitudes of life, including those that the government engenders with its own policies.
That’s what the welfare state is all about, and it’s also what the warfare state (aka the national-security state) — is all about.
Sure, there are differences with respect to the wonkiness. No doubt about that.
For example, liberals favor a full-fledged Social Security program, one in which the federal government forcibly takes money from people and gives it to seniors who want to use it to feather their retirement. Conservatives favor Social Security “reform” or “privatization,” a scheme by which the government forces people to deposit their own money into government-approved retirement accounts.
It’s essentially a debate over which is better: socialism or economic fascism. But undergirding all the wonkiness is the philosophical belief of both liberals and conservatives that it is the duty of government to take care of people.
It’s no different with healthcare. Liberals favor Obamacare, a program that would fit in perfectly in Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Conservatives prefer government-mandated health savings accounts, a program that would have received a welcome mat in Benito Mussolini’s Italy. Neither liberals nor conservatives would ever think to question the legitimacy of Medicare and Medicaid.
The drug war? Both liberals and conservatives have waged it ruthlessly for decades. That’s because they’re on the same philosophical page — that government should take care of people by deciding what they can and cannot ingest and then viciously punishing them with incarcerations and fines when they violate the laws that are passed supposedly for their own benefit.
Education? Both liberals and conservatives firmly believe in public schooling, a governmental system that is at the core of every socialist regime in the world, including those in China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba. In fact, public schooling and national healthcare the two governmental programs of which Castro is most proud. Of course, conservatives also favor school vouchers, a socialistic variation by which the government redistributes wealth from those who have it to parents who want the money to help them send their children to private schools. Nothing more than public-policy wonkiness differences that never question the role of the state in education.
The national-security establishment? Both liberals and conservatives firmly embrace this Cold War dinosaur, a totalitarian structure that was supposedly necessary to oppose the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union, America’s World War II partner and ally. Oh sure, they might have policy differences over what the Pentagon, the CIA , and the NSA do — such as whether to invade this country or that one — or whether to torture this person or that one — or whether to have secret surveillance schemes on this group of people or that group of people — but the fact is that at a philosophical level, both liberals and conservatives firmly believe that having large permanent military establishment, a secretive intelligence agency with totalitarian powers, and a secretive surveillance agency, are the foundation of a “free” society.
Income taxation and the IRS? Again, they love them because that’s what funds the welfare-warfare state. Oh sure, during the next election cycle, they’ll be debating the various income tax reforms that each of them favors, as they always do, knowing that none of their “policy prescriptions” would change anything at a fundamental level.
Worst of all, conservatives and liberals indoctrinate the young, including their very own children, into believing that life under a welfare-warfare state is “freedom.”
Welfare enables people to live a better life, liberals say, while conservatives point out that their welfare reforms given recipients of federal largess “choice.”
At the same time, they indoctrinate the young into believing that “freedom” means a massive military machine of violence that invades, occupies, destroys, kills, bombs, assassinates, tortures, and partners with brutal military dictatorships—all in the name of “national security” and “national defense” of course.
And then they wonder why so many young people are tripping out on drugs or committing suicide or other acts of violence.
As America continues to go to hell in a handbasket, neither liberals nor conservatives will accept personal responsibility for all the horrific consequences of their bizarre, dysfunctional political and economic philosophy. In their minds, the weirdness in American society — the massive drug addiction — the periodic gun massacres — the spiritual decay — the cynicism — the economic contraction — the militarism — the deference to authority — have nothing to do with their joint philosophy of statism. In the minds of both liberals and conservatives, it’s all because the welfare-warfare state hasn’t yet achieved its nadir.
It wouldn’t make a dime’s worth of difference whether Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush is elected president. They are flip sides of the same philosophical coin. The fight between liberals and conservatives is nothing more than a fight over who gets to control, regulate, plunder, kill, destroy, incarcerate, and ruin people.
My hunch is that deep down Washington Post columnist Dan Balz realizes that. Like so many other mainstream Americans, he just has a difficult time in confronting reality. That’s where we libertarians come in. Not only do we provide the solution to America’s many woes is (i.e., a dismantling, not a reform, of the welfare-warfare state way of life), we also help people to face the reality of the damage that liberals and conservatives have done to the morals, values, principles, prosperity, peace, harmony, conscience, and freedom of the American people.