One of the things that has long fascinated me about conservatives — and, well, has long bemused me as well — is their ability to deny reality. They are able to simply set aside what is real and ensconce themselves in their own little fantasy world.
One example involves socialism, an economic philosophy that conservatives have long decried. They will rant and rail against socialism, while proudly proclaiming themselves to be fierce defenders of capitalism, free markets, and free enterprise.
And then comes their ardent support for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public (i.e., government) schooling, immigration controls, monetary central planning, farm subsidies, education grants, public housing, and every other socialist program that comes down the pike, with the possible exception of food stamps.
What’s fascinating is that they don’t seem to even recognize the contradiction that lies at the center of their lives. They simply continue to blithely live their lives as if the contradiction doesn’t exist.
And then there is the concept of “limited government,” a concept that conservatives have long favored in their speeches, articles, stationery, websites, seminars, and conferences.
And then comes their ardent support for the national-security state form of governmental structure under which we have lived for the past 75 years. It is a form of governmental structure under which national-security-state officials wield omnipotent power.
And yet, conservatives just keep going happily along without noticing this central contradiction that lies at the center of their lives. They just keep declaring how devoted they are to limited government while, at the same time, declaring their fierce devotion to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, which, as the three principal components of America’s national-security establishment, wield omnipotent powers.
Consider, for example, the national-security establishment’s power of assassination. It is an omnipotent power. It can be exercised against anyone in the world, including American citizens. No one, including the federal judiciary, interferes with the exercise of this omnipotent power.
The situation is the complete opposite in a limited-government republic. Under that form of governmental structure, the Fifth Amendment applies. It prohibits the federal government from killing people without due process of law, which means an indictment and a trial. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right of trial by jury, rather than trial by a judge or a tribunal.
Yet, conservatives blithely live their lives expressing devotion to “limited government” while proudly defending the national-security state form of governmental structure and its omnipotent power of assassination.
This is one of the reasons conservatives resent libertarians so much and wish we had never come along. By standing squarely in favor of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government in a totally principled way, we make conservatives confront their life of contradiction. We make them see the la-la land in which they live. Even though they resent us for this, we are actually doing them a service because denial of reality is not a healthy thing.